Op-Ed: Your Health Idaho Working to Ease Access to Health Insurance amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Impacts from COVID-19 (coronavirus) continue to spread throughout our communities and around the world. As we grapple with this new reality, Your Health Idaho remains committed to serving Idahoans by providing a path to health insurance coverage when the need is greatest.
At a time when the overall health and well-being of our collective population is the top priority, Your Health Idaho is working hard to help Idahoans who have been impacted by COVID-19, specifically those who now find themselves out of a job and without health benefits.
In partnership with the Idaho Department of Insurance and Idaho insurance providers, and in alignment with Governor Little’s initiative to reduce regulations, Your Health Idaho is working to relax the requirements for eligible Idahoans to enroll in coverage.
Idahoans who have lost employer-sponsored health insurance as a result of termination, layoff, or furlough due to COVID-19 are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. Previously this process would require several steps of documentation and validation. Under the newly relaxed policy, in lieu of documentation and proof of termination, Idahoans can now submit a written statement explaining their loss of employer health benefits. This new process removes time-consuming barriers and ensures an expedited path to coverage.
While we are hopeful that the updated requirements will simplify the process of gaining coverage, we also know that the world of health insurance can be confusing in the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. For that reason, we encourage all Idahoans, even those who are unsure if they are eligible, to work with an insurance agent or broker. These dedicated professionals are licensed by the Idaho Department of Insurance and complete annual training through Your Health Idaho. Their expert advice is free of charge. To search for help in your area, visit YourHealthIdaho.org/find-help.
Over the last seven years, the Your Health Idaho mantra has always been business as usual. Meaning that no matter what challenges we face, we must stay focused on our mission to maintain maximum control of the state’s health insurance marketplace at minimal cost to its citizens. And while our core mission remains the same, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic is not business as usual. Instead, we see it as conducting the business of serving Idahoans in highly unusual times.
As Your Health Idaho works to prioritize access to coverage for Idahoans, we, like many businesses, have also had to adjust how we serve our customers. To protect the health and safety of our employees, the Your Health Idaho team is working remotely and supporting customer needs primarily through electronic communication. This change comes with additional challenges, but Your Health Idaho has implemented several new resources for Idahoans including; a COVID-19 and Your Health Idaho webpage with FAQs and contact information, a web-based Customer Support Request Form to expedite email communication, and limited phone support for medically urgent cases at 208-246-8135. Your Health Idaho will continue to evaluate how to best serve our customers during this unprecedented time.
One of the many benefits of an Idaho-run insurance marketplace is the ability to adapt and respond quickly. By continuing to do things the Idaho way, we can assess the needs of Idahoans and implement solutions that are right for our state and our communities.
Your Health Idaho remains steadfast in our commitment to serving Idahoans –our friends and neighbors. We will get through this together.