Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

January 14, 2022

Dear Editor,

I am an independent Health Insurance broker from Mountain Home. I support clients in Elmore, Ada, and Canyon counties primarily, with clients stretching across our great state. I have requested the assistance and the attention of our State Representatives and Senators, the Board of Directors at Your Health Idaho, and the Department of Insurance regarding an immediate concern that the applications submitted for Healthcare Assistance to Department of Health and Welfare and/or Your Health Idaho are critically delayed. I have clients in Elmore County that applied in November for January 1st coverage and are now delaying surgeries and medical procedures and are unable to receive care due to this delay.

Applications for Healthcare Assistance include those applying for Medicaid and those applying for Advanced Premium Tax Credit to lower the cost of their coverage. In previous years, these applications were processed in a timely manner by Dept. of Health and Welfare. A decision was made to push this workload on to Your Health Idaho for 2021 Open Enrollment for coverage to begin on January 1st and the backlog has been significant. What may take 3-5 days in prior years is now stretching beyond 40+ days, and that is not including the administrative time that insurance carriers will need to enroll Idahoans. There has been no communication from Your Health Idaho to my clients in 2022 regarding this delay. As we approach the third year of a pandemic, it is especially important that we offer support and assistance to the increasing population that is applying for insurance for the first time individually, or the significant population that continues to renew their coverage through Your Health Idaho. The decision to move the processing of Healthcare Assistance Applications from Department of Health and Welfare to Your Health Idaho must not have been made with full consideration of the increased workload and effort required to process thousands of applications. Delays in processing applications have been a concern throughout Open Enrollment, however, the backlog that is now stretching beyond the deadline is unacceptable for Idahoans who need access to healthcare now. As of January 10th, 2022, applications from November 2021 are still in queue to be processed. There are countless individuals and families delaying needed healthcare due to not having proof of current health insurance due to the state’s delay. The mission of Your Health Idaho is to maintain maximum control of Idaho’s health insurance marketplace at minimal cost to its citizens. We are failing Idahoans by delaying their care during a pandemic and making this already confusing process even more difficult to navigate and by remaining stagnant in our processes and not following many other state-facilitated exchanges and the federal exchange by having immediate APTC processing. Along with many other brokers in the insurance industry, we are demanding immediate financial and personnel support to Your Health Idaho to finish processing the backlog of Healthcare Assistance applications and insisting on future considerations to automate and modernize this process to eliminate this delay in future years. Other state run healthcare exchanges do not have the delay that we do, and Idahoans cannot continue to needlessly wait for healthcare coverage during a pandemic.

Thank you,

Samantha Venable