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Blue Cross: Idaho could face risk under self-insurance plan

Health insurance officials are warning lawmakers that switching public employees to a self-insurance model could place the state at a greater financial risk.

Dave Jeppesen, chief marketing officer with the Blue Cross of Idaho, said Wednesday that Idaho’s existing program allows the state the flexibility to decide what health benefits it wants to offer without assuming the risk for medical claims.

State lawmakers are debating whether the state should pay for health insurance for about 45,600 state workers and family members directly rather than purchasing insurance through a carrier, known as a fully insured model.

Idaho currently has a hybrid fully insured plan with Blue Cross of Idaho.

The benefit of switching to a self-insurance model has faced increased scrutiny as Republican gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist has argued the switch could save the state as much as $60 million over three years.

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