BOISE -- Idahoans who don't have health insurance may soon have another option on where to buy it.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Lt. Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order they say will provide more choices for health insurance.
The plan, which was announced Friday morning during the AP Legislative Preview, is still in a preliminary stage and many of the details are still being worked out, state leaders say.
Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance Dean Cameron says the executive order essentially gives him the authority and responsibility to seek out and offer plans for Idahoans who can not currently afford coverage.
The order also allows the Department of Insurance to approve options that follow Idaho requirements - even if those plans fall short of federal Affordable Care Act standards - as long as the provider also offers an "exchange-certified alternative," according to the order.
"It's aimed at particularly the young and the healthy. It's aimed at folks who cannot afford their current health insurance, the same folks who aren't getting a subsidy and aren't participating in the exchange," Cameron said. "Those that are participating in the exchange likely still will. These plans will be offered to those that have chosen to go without coverage because they can't afford it."
Between 100,000 and 125,000 Idahoans do not currently have health coverage, Cameron said.
The new plan is not expected to impact the Your Health Idaho exchange, state leaders say. Otter, Little and Cameron say the plans will be able to offer savings of between 30 percent and 50 percent because they will not have to meet all the requirements of the ACA.
Those savings estimates are based on preliminary conversations with insurance companies about what the plans may or may not include compared to current coverage options, Cameron said.
The state will present guidelines to private insurance companies in the next two weeks so the companies can craft those plans, he said. Then, those plans will be subject to negotiation.
Officials hope the plans will be available for people to buy by March so the insurance will kick in on April 1.