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Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Red State Idaho Embraces Obamacare Insurance Exchange -- Reluctantly

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Settles says he also pushed for a state-run exchange because he thought it could help keep costs down. He notes the Idaho exchange will have a 1.5 percent surcharge on policies sold in the marketplace to pay for administrative costs. The federally operated exchanges will have a 3.5 percent surcharge.

Despite the one-year delay in the employer mandate, Settles plans to extend coverage to all his full time workers next year. "I am tired of the uncertainty and it is a benefit I would like to provide -- if it's a benefit I can afford."

The only industry group to oppose the state-based exchange was the Idaho Farm Bureau, which represents 15,000 farmers and ranchers. But spokesman John Thompson says he expects many members to be willing to buy coverage on the exchange despite their ideological opposition. "If it makes economic sense to them, they will do it," he says.

Jim Grissom, an embroidery store owner in downtown Boise, is waiting to see.

Grissom, 55, doesn't like Obamacare, particularly the mandate that requires most people to have insurance. He says he spends $700 a month on coverage now because his wife insists on it, although he thinks "it's a waste of money."

"The nature of Idahoans is we would like nothing to do with the federal government," he says. "I hope we find something cheaper."

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Wed, Aug 07 2013

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