filler

Until the potato drops in downtown Boise later this week, qualifying Idahoans can access tax-subsidized health insurance on the state’s exchange.

That’s because state administrators for Your Health Idaho extended the exchange’s open enrollment deadline from Dec. 15 to 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday. Some people who lose insurance they access through their job or who have had some other significant “qualifying life event,” can still enroll in health insurance plans on the exchange outside of open enrollment periods. Open enrollment periods are when most people can access exchange plans.

“I cannot stress enough how important this final deadline is for Idahoans,” Pat Kelly, Your Health Idaho executive director, said in a news release on Monday. “Even if you are unsure if you will qualify, this is the last chance to complete an application and find out if you are eligible for lower-cost coverage through Your Health Idaho.”

Idahoans who don’t enroll by year’s end may have to wait to access insurance on the state exchange until the next open enrollment period begins, which usually happens in November.

Idaho is one of 12 states (and Washington, D.C.) that opted to create its own exchange, Boise State Public Radio reported in April. The local NPR-affiliate also reported that Idaho was the only state-run exchange that didn’t allow a special open enrollment period during the beginning of the pandemic, when low-income Americans bore the brunt of the nation’s economic hardships; the Trump administration also did not allow special enrollment in the federal government’s health insurance exchange.

Enrollment for state-provided Medicaid insurance for disabled, pregnant and low-income Idahoans happens on a rolling basis.

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel can be reached at 208-542-6754. Follow him on Twitter: @pfannyyy. He is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.