What Idaho Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2024


Essential facts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) in Idaho, including whether you must get health insurance, how much it costs, and how you can save money.



Idaho open enrollment for 2024 health insurance plans runs from October 15, 2023 until December 15, 2023.

This website provides information about getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:

To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in Idaho:

1. Open enrollment for 2024 health insurance plans runs from October 15, 2023 through December 15, 2023.

Idaho residents can sign up for 2024 health coverage from October 15, 2023 through December 15, 2023. Pay attention to this deadline. Idaho is opening enrollment earlier than other states and it is one of just two states closing open enrollment before the start of the new year. Idaho usually offers brief extensions to those who begin but don't finish their applications by December 15, but it's not something you should rely on.

Once open enrollment ends you won't be able to get health insurance through Your Health Idaho until open enrollment for 2025 begins next fall, unless you qualify for an exception or your income is low enough for Medicaid.

If you’ve lost your job or significant income in the past 60 days, you might qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). A SEP allows you to sign up for a new health insurance plan or change your current plan outside the open enrollment window.

In addition to job or income loss, many other qualifying events may make you eligible for a SEP. To learn more, see What Happens If I Missed the Idaho Obamacare Enrollment Deadline?

2. You won’t face a tax penalty for going without health insurance in 2024—but there are big downsides to being uninsured.

Obamacare’s tax penalty went away in 2019. That means that if you don’t have health insurance, you won’t have to pay a penalty when you file your federal income taxes. That said, think about whether it makes sense to forego health insurance. A medical crisis could knock the financial wind from your sails and do more damage than the penalty. (A study published in 2019 showed that a lapse in health insurance coverage can double a person's chances of ending up in bankruptcy.)

3. You may qualify for new Affordable Care Act subsidies.

In 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The law provided $1.9 trillion of federal aid to Americans struggling with the COVID-19 crisis, including additional premium subsidies for those who purchase health insurance through Your Health Idaho. In 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act extended these more generous subsidies through 2025. Here’s a quick summary of the types of available subsidies.

Federal tax credits. Under ARPA, no one will have to pay more than 8.5% of their household income for a mid-level plan purchased from Your Health Idaho. Technically, the subsidies are tax credits, but you can choose to have them automatically deducted from the cost of your monthly premiums.

Cost-sharing subsidies. More than half of the people who purchase coverage through Your Health Idaho receive assistance through cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). CSRs automatically reduce your premiums and lower your costs when you use your insurance benefits—for example, when you go to the doctor, get lab work, or have to stay in the hospital.

CSRs are available to people who make between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level. (For 2023 health plans, that means a family of four in Idaho can't earn more than $75,000 and an individual not more than $36,450.) But these benefits are available only on silver plans. If you think you may qualify, look carefully at the costs for silver plans available at Your Health Idaho while shopping for coverage.

Medicaid. You may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in Idaho if your income is very low.

For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in Idaho.

4. Try to avoid short-term health insurance plans that don’t comply with the ACA.

In 2018, the Trump administration made purchasing "short-term insurance plans easier." Short-term plans don’t have to cover preexisting conditions or the essential health benefits provided by Obamacare plans. States can make their own rules regarding short-term plans, however, and Idaho has done so, offering two different types of short-term insurance:

  • Nonrenewable short-term plans that last up to 12 months and provide limited benefits.
  • Enhanced short-term plans that are renewable for up to 36 months and offer more robust coverage than the skimpier plans the Trump administration authorized.

If you’re genuinely caught without health insurance and need it for a few months to cover a new health condition, you might want to consider a true short-term plan to get you through to the next open enrollment period. Otherwise, be careful of plans that don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and shop around to look for coverage that truly meets your needs.

5. You can get help signing up if you need it.

The Biden administration has greatly increased enrollment assistance plans, making it much easier to get the information you need to get covered. To connect with local support resources, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Idaho.


Jurisdictional relevance: ST

There are versions of this article for each State.

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