Utah health insurance tips


Utah insurance law and regulation

The Utah Insurance Department Web site contains a link to the complete text of all insurance laws and rules.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (801) 538-3800 or by mail at 3110 State Office Building Salt Lake City, UT 84114. The state children’s health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Utah Children’s Health Insurance Plan.

News that affects your health insurance and planning

December 1, 2019 – Good news for health insurance in 2020: The number of people signed up for health insurance in Utah is increased sharply even though the number nationwide has declined. The difference might be due to the work of the state’s assisters that help people sign up for coverage. A recent analysis reported by Associated Press found that 96% of low-income residents can find a basic plan at no cost to them. But many people living on lower incomes remain unaware they’re eligible. Overall in the U.S., 2,372,957 had signed up as of Nov. 23, compared to 2,424,913 last year — an about 2.1% decrease over last year. Premium rates nationwide declined an average fell 4% for 2020, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid with 20 more issuers offering coverage this year bringing more choices to consumers and more competition on rates.

June 3, 2019 – Status of alternative non-ACA health plans: Utah does not require individuals to maintain adequate health coverage. The state provides no premium or cost-sharing subsidies for individual market coverage, permits insurers to sell non-compliant transitional policies in the individual market and does not limit the sale of short-term coverage more strictly than the federal government.

March 3, 2019 – The Utah tax overhaul House Bill 441 will add a 1% tax to health insurance premiums. The state insurance exchange says that will increase cost by an average of $65 per policyholder over a year. The bill drew attention only because this type of tax is not yet common in other states.

December 31, 2018 – Utah is expanding Medicaid coverage for it’s low income residents. In this past November’s election the majority of Utah voters approved Proposition 3 to fully expand Medicaid and fund the state’s match with a .15 percent tax increase on non-grocery purchases. Medicaid expansion is scheduled to take effect April 1, 2019. The Utah Department of Health said work is under way now to be fully prepared by that date.

The history of health care planning in Utah (Information is outdated and links may be expired)

12/3/2014 Governor Gary Herbert presented his Healthy Utah plan on Dec. 3 to expand Medicaid for up to 60,000 low income residents.

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Utah residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated “A” by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific “essential health benefits” for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)reported that as of June 30, 2011 Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah is the state’s largest health insurance provider and as such, earns the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state’s essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

1/19/2011 Child-only health insurance for children with significant medical problems will be available through an open enrollment period mandated by federal state law under new rules developed by the state. All children, regardless of medical condition, continue to be eligible for insurance when applying as a dependent on a parent’s policy and healthy children are eligible for child-only insurance at any time. When applying for child-only insurance for more than one child, make a separate application for each child.

12/16/2010 Utah Office of Economic Development officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Utah said that it would: 1) Use grant funds to allow Utah to continue to moving forward on current Exchange efforts, 2) Expand the Exchange research to better target potential consumers, 3) Develop web-based tool for eligibility purposes, and 4) Fund additional and current staff positions.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Utah is now available at Freedom Benefits.

3/23/2010 Utah and ten other states including Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Washington will make a joint legal challenge to the federal health reform bill on the basis that it improperly usurps state sovereignty over health insurance and that requiring health insurance is an illegal and improper government action.