Boise, Idaho - The creation of a state-based health insurance exchange is one of the most hotly debated issues taking place during the current Idaho State Legislative session. But according to an AARP Idaho survey of registered voters there’s little debate among Gem Staters on the issue. Many of those surveyed report difficulty paying for their health insurance and overwhelmingly support the creation of a state-based exchange that could get them a better deal and more options on rising insurance premiums.
The issue finds broad support from registered voters across all political parties, with 77% of Republicans backing the measure (78% for Democrats and 73% for Independents). Similar support is found regardless of political leanings, with 72% of registered voters who identify themselves as conservative supporting a state-based exchange (77% for liberals and 75% for moderates).
The survey of Idaho registered voters ages 30 to 64; found that while most have health insurance (87%), paying for it is taking a harsh toll, causing many to make hard choices such as delaying getting a prescription filled (22%), cutting back on food, clothing and housing costs (33%), not seeing the doctor when they need to (40%). Health insurance is also driving career decisions, with the majority of those surveyed worrying that they won’t be able to retire or change jobs due to the health care coverage they receive from their employer. Overall, 72% support the creation of a health insurance marketplace, such as the exchange would establish, while over 80% think it’s important for Idaho to develop such a marketplace.
Other key findings from the AARP Idaho health care survey include:
- 50% of registered voters 30-64 say the health insurance marketplace should be overseen by a group of consumers, insurance companies, small businesses and government, 27% said a state agency should oversee it, with less than 10% stating a federal agency should take on the role.
- Nearly 90% of these Idahoans say it’s important for the exchange to put the needs of individuals and small businesses before those of insurance companies.
- Over half of respondents without health insurance say their main reason for no coverage is because they can’t afford it.
- 53% report difficulty in paying for their health insurance.
- A large majority (80%) of registered voters surveyed worry about having to pay more for health insurance, while 70% fear not being able to afford the health care services they may need.
- Over a third (35%) of these Idahoans who have employer health coverage worry their employer will drop their health insurance.
If states opt not to establish their own health insurance marketplaces, the federal government will run the marketplace for the state.
View the executive summary here: ID Summary
View the entire survey here: ID Health Survey Annotation and Methodology
Listen to Governor Otter's message: Health Exchange (with permission from IACI)
View AARP Idaho's message: AARP Idaho