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Idaho State News

Idahoans to see 12-Percent Lower Health Insurance Costs with Approval of key “Leading Idaho” Waiver

BOISE – Governor Brad Little announced today the State of Idaho achieved a key milestone of the “Leading Idaho” plan – approval of the state’s innovation waiver, ensuring accessible health insurance for more Idahoans.

“Idahoans benefited from another win from our ‘Leading Idaho’ plan today. The approval of the state’s innovation waiver is estimated to reduce insurance premiums for individuals by about 12-percent, keeping more Idahoans insured and providing them better access to affordable healthcare,” Governor Little said.

The U.S Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved this week Idaho’s application for a Section 1332 State Innovation waiver. The state submitted the Section 1332 waiver to increase affordability of individual health insurance in Idaho. This waiver approval is effective January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2027, and it is expected to reduce individual market health insurance premiums by 12-percent in the first year compared to premiums without the waiver.

The waiver will be implemented primarily by the Idaho Individual High Risk Reinsurance Pool, a state reinsurance program that helps reduce some of the insurance costs of certain serious medical conditions, thereby reducing the premiums charged to Idahoans. Governor Little recommended and the Legislature this year approved a one-time $25 million General Fund transfer to the Idaho High Risk Individual Pool Fund to lower health insurance premiums throughout the state. The pool was created in 2000. From its inception, it has successfully paid more than $164.6 million in claims from more than 13,000 Idahoans with serious medical conditions.

“The support of the Governor and the Legislature were critical to receiving federal approval of Idaho’s Reinsurance Pool innovation waiver,” Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI) Director Dean Cameron said. “Thanks to their support and our staff’s efforts developing a solid waiver application, Idahoans who purchase their own health insurance will have lower premiums going forward.”

As part of the waiver process, legislation signed by Governor Little this year, House Bill 611, authorized the DOI to submit the waiver application to the federal agencies and to condition the continuation of the state reinsurance program upon approval of the 1332 waiver.

DOI also received public comment during the application process.

The State of Idaho’s 1332 Waiver approval and fact sheet are posted online at https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/State-Innovation-Waivers/Section_1332_State_Innovation_Waivers-.