Nearly 74,000 sign up on Idaho insurance exchange

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Nearly 74,000 Idahoans are enrolled on the state-based health insurance exchange, but officials aren't releasing much information about who is signing up.

Pat Kelly, executive director of Your Health Idaho, gave the exchange board the update Tuesday but did not say how many of those people were among the 76,000 who enrolled last year. He also didn't mention how many people had submitted an application but had not yet selected an insurance plan.

Your Health Idaho will release more information later, officials said.

Idaho was one of a dozen states, as well as the only Republican-dominated state, to launch its own exchange in November. Idaho didn't have time to build its own website before enrollment under the Affordable Care Act began last year, so it relied on the federal website, which had a rocky start.

After launching Idaho's own site with minimal glitches, officials are now looking to enrollment numbers and demographics to measure Idaho's exchange success.

"There is a huge demand for health insurance in our state," Kelly said. "We want to make sure people who want health insurance coverage get the help they need before open enrollment ends on Feb. 15."

According to state law, officials are banned from using Idaho tax dollars to fund the exchange website. This year, board members approved charging 1.5 percent on premiums to cover the site's overhead costs. That's less than the federal exchange's 3.5 percent fee, but officials are still determining if Idaho's fee collected from enrollees will be enough to keep the site self-sustaining when Idaho can no longer rely on federal funding in 2016.

Enrollee ages are also important. People ages 18 and 34 — who generally have fewer health problems — are coveted to subsidize older people who tend to have higher health care costs.

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