BOISE -- The public marketplace for health insurance in Idaho is scheduled to go online in less than two months. The state health insurance exchange will offer coverage to uninsured Idahoans and others who might want to change providers. Now, it's starting to take shape.

According to the Idaho Department of Insurance, we now know that there will be 79 different individual medical plans to choose from, and they'll be offered by five different companies; PacificSource Health, Blue Cross of Idaho, SelectHealth, Altius Health, and Bridgespan Health, which was created by Regence Blue Shield.

Meanwhile, there will be 55 small group plans available from three companies; Blue Cross of Idaho, PacificSource, and SelectHealth. There will also be more than a dozen individual and small group dental plans available. That's 165 plans total.

Those companies that we just released were a major milestone, said Jody Olson, the Director of Communications for the Exchange.

She also talked to us about what the actual coverage in the plans will look like. They all have to have certain essential benefits included in that, but they're not going to all be on the cheap.

Olson says the completely new plans will range in price and coverage from bronze to silver to platinum. The nice thing about the Exchange, is that people will be able to go and compare these, apples to apples, and take a look at what is in each plan, and decide what's best for their family.

In the meantime, Exchange managers are getting the website ready, which will help people navigate through all these plans, and help them decide what they might need. Also, exchange staff is training and getting certified, all to be ready by the October 1st deadline.

Olson says, October 1st, people are going to be able to go on this website, and actually shop, compare, and choose the health plan for their family.

But the big question is How much will the plans cost? We don't exactly know yet. The last figure we had was an average of $240 per month. But,that was based on federal numbers and the price tag of proposed policies, not the actual policies cleared by the Idaho Department of Insurance here in Idaho. We should have the prices for Idaho's plans by next month.

Those with the Exchange promise they will have it up and running by October 1, with coverage starting January 1. Their next open board meeting is August 13.

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