Idaho Governor Intends to Offer Illegal Insurance Plans

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The newly-elected Governor of Idaho Brad Little (R) announced in his State of the State address on Monday evening that he will continue the previous governor’s efforts to create state-level health insurance plans that do not comply with the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Governor Butch Otter (R) originally issued an executive order that directed the Idaho Department of Insurance to authorize these ACA non-compliant plans back in January 2018. Subsequently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in a letter sent by CMS administrator Seema Verma, declared the plans illegal. The CMS letter outlined some ways in which the state’s proposal could be brought into compliance with the ACA; however, Idaho health officials have not yet put forth any revisions. Based on Governor Otter’s proposal, these plans would be bad for consumers because they would not offer many patient protections, including caps on out-of-pocket costs and essential health benefits, and they could discriminate based on pre-existing conditions.

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