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Record high demand for insurance through WA and ID health exchanges

Courtesy Your Health Idaho and Washington Health Planfinder
The health exchanges in Idaho and Washington signed up record numbers of customers during November's open enrollment period.

Officials in both states credit federal tax credits for lowering consumer insurance premiums

Record high numbers of people have signed up for coverage through the health insurance exchanges in Washington and Idaho.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange says 240,000 people signed up for coverage in 2022 during the recently-completed enrollment period. That’s 14,000 more than in 2021 and nearly 30,000 more than in 2020, according to the agency.

In Idaho, 85,000 people signed up through the Your Health Idaho exchange, 12,000 more than in 2021. Executive director Pat Kelly told legislators last week that the number of people applying was more than his office could handle.

“An increase in demand coupled with seasonal staffing challenges made for the perfect storm and we did see application delays and extended wait times for customers," he said. “What began with the best of intentions caused us to fall short of our high expectations we set for ourselves and the service our customers deserve. We continue to work through the backlog and, as of today, less than 4% of our customers are waiting for our tax credit eligibility," he said.

Exchange officials in both states say new tax credits in last year’s federal rescue plan act make policies more affordable. Kelly says 85% of those buying from the exchange in Idaho are taking advantage of government tax credits that make their premiums more affordable.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.