Updated 5:30 p.m.
Blue Cross of Idaho announced on Wednesday that it will begin offering insurance plans in the state that do not meet Obamacare’s requirements. The announcement comes in the wake of a controversial executive order from Governor Butch Otter that allows plans that do not meet all of the federal law’s requirements to be sold in the state.
Governor Otter’s plan is to bring less expensive options to the state. He says Obamacare plans are too expensive and more healthy people need to be drawn into the insurance pool. The new plans would have cheaper premiums, but would charge those with pre-existing conditions more and have a $1 million yearly limit on claims, both provisions that are illegal under Obamacare.
“The current marketplace is not affordable for middle-class families,” said Charlene Maher, CEO of Blue Cross of Idaho, in a statement. “Our new state-based plans are a response to Governor Otter’s executive order, which begins to solve the issues that have kept middle-class Idahoans from buying health insurance. Our Freedom Blue plans bring more choices and lower prices to consumers.”
Democrats say the moves are illegal however. And that Governor Otter is simply ignoring federal law. They have been pressuring Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to step in and stop Idaho’s moves. In a statement to ITN, a HHS spokesperson said that the agency was continuing to monitor the situation in Idaho.
“HHS is committed to working with states to give them the flexibility to provide their citizens the best possible access to healthcare, within the bounds of the law,” the statement read.