Effective at renewals and for new contracts beginning August 1, 2012, Blue Cross of Idaho will provide coverage with no cost sharing for specific preventive health services for women.
If you have any questions about these benefit changes, please select this link or contact your local Blue Cross of Idaho District Office.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand the complex health insurance and healthcare industries so that you can find the best coverage to meet your needs.
Healthcare reform affects everyone differently. As Blue Cross of Idaho continues to analyze the new law, we will post relevant frequently asked questions so you can better understand what healthcare reform changes to expect. These questions and answers are informational and not the equivalent of legal advice. Consult legal and tax experts to understand how the law will affect your individual or business circumstances.
I have health insurance coverage through Blue Cross of Idaho. Do I need to do anything now?
No. The federal government will implement healthcare reform changes over the next several years. Blue Cross of Idaho will continue to provide excellent service and will work to implement the new healthcare laws to best serve our members.
We are reviewing the legislation and any potential impact it will have on our members. We are also working to ensure a smooth transition with state and federal regulators who will be drafting many state and federal-level regulations.
When will healthcare reform become effective?
Many healthcare reform provisions have already taken effect, and you can refer to our timeline for an overview of what's happened so far. Beginning on October 1, 2013, individuals and small businesses can purchase coverage through Idaho's online exchange, YourHealthIdaho.org.
Consumers will be able to purchase health insurance regardless of health status and premiums cannot vary because of health status. Individuals will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.
Subsidies are available on a sliding scale to help individuals or families with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level to purchase insurance, but they must purchase coverage through the state-based exchange, YourHealthIdaho.org.
The new law will also require all individuals to have coverage beginning in 2014 or face a tax penalty.
Blue Cross of Idaho maintains a timeline with important dates and action items to help our members and other partners negotiate healthcare reform.
Will insurers have to cover everyone regardless of their health status?
Yes. Blue Cross of Idaho has always provided health insurance coverage options to anyone regardless of health status. Beginning in 2014, insurers must offer coverage to anyone regardless of health status and cannot vary premiums based on health status. The new law will also require all individuals to have coverage beginning in 2014.
How will health reform affect my premiums?
There are a number of factors that affect the cost of health insurance premiums and we expect the changes stemming from healthcare reform to be one of them.
However, increasing use of healthcare services due to an aging population; obesity and chronic illnesses; new treatments; prescription drugs and expensive new technologies are the biggest causes of increasing healthcare premiums. The new law establishes a few pilot programs aimed at addressing these aspects of healthcare, but does not aggressively attempt to control rising healthcare costs.
We believe premiums will increase because of provisions in reform legislation that guarantee richer levels of benefits than most consumers paying for their own insurance, purchase today. Insufficient discounts for the young and healthy will encourage many of them to forgo coverage. New fees and taxes mandated by the new law will also likely increase the cost of premiums as they phase in.
Blue Cross of Idaho will continue to work with doctors, hospitals, employers and consumers to rein in costs and insurance premiums while improving access to quality healthcare. In doing so, we hope to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions, eliminate infections acquired during hospital visits and promote paying doctors and hospitals for quality outcomes.
I am currently uninsured. How will I obtain coverage in the future?
Blue Cross of Idaho offers many health insurance options at affordable prices that you may be able to enroll in today. Visit our shoppers site for more information or to apply online, or contact us at 800-365-2345.
Beginning October 1, 2013, state health insurance exchanges will enable consumers to compare benefits, prices and networks of providers and purchase coverage.
I am graduating from college this year. Will I be able to obtain coverage under my parents' health plan?
Beginning with plans that have an effective date after Sept. 23, 2010, the new law allows dependents up to age 26 to obtain coverage under their parents' plans that offer dependent coverage. Blue Cross of Idaho implemented this change early to protect our members who would have had a gap in their coverage because of the change in laws. As of June 1, 2010, Blue Cross of Idaho has allowed members to add adult children up to age 26, regardless of the child’s marital, financial, student or residential status, to their plan.
What if I can't afford to purchase coverage?
Blue Cross Blue of Idaho offers many different healthcare coverage options, including many that are much more affordable than people realize. Beginning October 1, 2013, consumers who purchase coverage on their own through the online exchange, YourHealthIdaho.org, may qualify for federal subsidies to help offset higher premiums.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 20 million American households will be eligible for subsidies, but can only receive them if they purchase healthcare coverage through the online exchange, YourHealthIdaho.org. In addition, eligibility for Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health coverage to millions of Americans, will expand to cover families with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
Where can I find more information about how health care reform could affect me?
We will continue to update the information on this site as it becomes available so make sure to return periodically for more information.