In 2014, thousands of uninsured Idahoans became eligible for a tax credit that helped them purchase health coverage through Idaho’s state health insurance exchange. However, between 51,000-78,000 Idahoans do not qualify for assistance and fall into the “The Coverage Gap.”1
In a family of four, working parents are not eligible to receive Medicaid if they make over $5,268 annually, but they will not qualify for assistance through the health insurance exchange until they make over $24,600. These adults fall in the coverage gap. They are not eligible for Medicaid, lack access to employer health insurance plans and do not earn enough to qualify for assistance through Your Health Idaho, the health insurance marketplace.
A smart health care policy would close this gap. The good news is that states have flexibility to design their own approach of closing this gap, whether through new private options or existing programs, like Medicaid. Idaho has the opportunity to design its own plan—a plan that will work for Idahoans.
Who Falls in the Coverage Gap in Idaho?
The coverage gap consists of Idahoans between the ages of 18 and 64. They can be college students, veterans, working parents, and low wage workers. They are our co-workers, neighbors and friends.
We Need A Complete Solution to the Coverage Gap
We all want Idahoans to have access to affordable health coverage. Fortunately, over 90,000 Idahoans have been able to sign up for affordable coverage through the Your Health Idaho exchange. In spite of several efforts to close the gap, Idaho still has not created and passed a full solution.
The Idaho Health Care Plan is the current proposal is the current proposal aimed at narrowing the coverage gap and lowering the cost of health coverage premiums.
While the Idaho Health Care Plan is a great first step to get more Idahoans into affordable health coverage, Close the Gap Idaho will continue to work towards to a full solution that completely closes the health coverage gap
Watch our Video Explaining Idaho’s Policy Options
Good Health Policy is Good for Idahoans
Health insurance improves the lives of Idahoans through reducing illness, alleviating pain and suffering, diminishing missed time at work and decreasing job loss. Families with health insurance are also more likely to receive preventive medical care, avoiding more painful conditions and larger expenses down the road.
Closing the Gap is Good for Idaho’s Economy
Closing the gap would bring economic benefits to every region of the state, as the new dollars ripple through the local economies. When a health worker has her oil changed, goes out to lunch, or buys shoes for her kids, she will help fuel the local economy. In 2016, economists estimate that over 10 years Idaho would see nearly $700 million in new economic activity and nearly 15,000 new private sector jobs. To put that in perspective, Idaho had around 42,000 unemployed in January, 2014.
Closing the Gap is Good for Idaho’s Veterans
Idaho has the second-highest rate of uninsured veterans in the nation, with nearly 15 percent of our veterans lacking health insurance. This works out to 10,000 uninsured veterans who live in all parts of the state. Over 40 percent of veterans without health insurance report having untreated medical needs and roughly 15 percent face significant physical, mental, or emotional health problems.
1Estimates on the number of Idahoans in the gap vary based on data sources and methodology. An actuarial firm commissioned by the state of Idaho, Milliman, Inc., estimated a ceiling for the number of Idahoan in the gap at 78,000. Recent census data indicate the number of uninsured Idahoans adults under the federal poverty level in Idaho between 51,000-62,000.
CHIP Reauthorization: Impact on Idaho’s Children
Health Coverage in Rural Idaho Report, June 2017
Federal Medicaid Funding Caps: Devastating to People with Disabilities, April 2017
Snapshot of Children’s Coverage: How Medicaid, CHIP & ACA Cover Children, March 2017
Close the Gap Resources 2016
Close the Gap’s proposed solution to the coverage gap
Chartbook: Understanding the Coverage Gap in Idaho
Download a zipped folder of all the chart book graphics and tables in jpg format.
(Numbers in file titles indicate page number in chart book)
Advocacy Toolkit 2016
Letter from Faith Leaders 2016
Quotes from Faith Leaders 2016
Five Key Facts of the Healthy Idaho Plan
Read these letters of endorsement to find out why so many great organizations support closing the health coverage gap.
- Academy of Family Physicians
- American Heart Association
- Cancer Action Network
- Catholic Charities
- Central District Health
- Idaho Medical Association
- Idaho Voices for Children
- Saint Alphonsus
Closing the Gap won’t be easy, but we can do it! Here are several ways you can do you your part.
Close the Gap Idaho continues to work toward a solution to close Idaho’s coverage gap. Recently, we have expanded our work to include multiple federal healthcare issues that impact Idahoans including protecting Medicaid, preserving the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and maintaining protections for Idahoans with pre-existing conditions. We can’t do this work alone and need Idahoans like you to do your part.
Here are the ways YOU can help.
We collect healthcare stories to share on various platforms and show the faces of Idahoans impacted by healthcare policies. Contact us at 1-844-435-7785 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.
You can also share your story online. Click below to take our survey if:
Read our healthcare storybook Why Healthcare Matters: Stories of Idahoans
Share our story collection flyers
Share your story of life in the coverage gap
Help protect Health Coverage for Kids in Idaho
CHIP and Medicaid: Share Your Story
Share Your Story to Help Protect Affordable Health Coverage for Idahoans