BOISE -- Idaho government officials haven't discussed mimicking Washington lawmakers who may shift part-time state employees to its insurance exchange.

Asked about Washington's plan Tuesday, Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal said he wasn't aware of neighboring Washington's proposal, until a reporter mentioned it.

The Idaho Legislature just passed an exchange a month ago, and Deal says all his efforts are now directed at making sure it's running by Jan. 1, 2014.

Meanwhile, Washington lawmakers are exploring a plan to capitalize on provisions in President Barack Obama's health care law that could allow part-timers to be covered through an exchange.

Some predict $120 million in savings for Washington over two years.

But the switch could strain the federal budget and force state employees to pay more for insurance than they do now.

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