Back in July, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter put together a group of insurance industry stakeholders, business owners and lawmakers to figure out if Idaho should create its own health insurance exchange or let the federal government take the lead.
The work group has since recommended Idaho create its own state-based exchange. It spent at least $166,368 to come to that conclusion.
Invoices to the Idaho Department of Insurance that StateImpact obtained through Idaho’s public information law show the greatest cost to the state was through hiring consultants and experts.
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Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal says his department was allocated $500,000 to use for planning a health insurance exchange. He says more than half of that is available for things like hiring consultants. The Department of Insurance is funded largely by fees assessed to insurance companies and brokers.
The Department of Insurance and one of Idaho’s largest business advocacy groups, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, have long supported the state create it’s own health exchange. The exchanges are a key part of the federal health reform law, and they will allow people to shop for and purchase health insurance through an online service.
A majority of Gov. Otter’s panel agrees the state should create an Idaho-run exchange. But it’s up to the governor to make the final decision. That deadline has been pushed back to Dec. 14 after the Republican Governors Association asked the Department of Health and Human Services for an extension.