- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho residents will have an extra five days to choose a plan from the state’s health insurance exchange.

Officials with Your Health Idaho announced late last week that the deadline was extended to Dec. 20.

The enrollment period was originally set to end Monday; but Executive Director Pat Kelly said that some people received emails with broken links asking them to activate their accounts to select an insurance plan.

Kelly declined to say how many people received the email, but he said it didn’t affect everyone enrolled in the exchange.

Your Health Idaho will release enrollment numbers as of Nov. 30 later this week, Kelly said.

Kelly also said that the exchange’s call centers have seen a jump in phone calls, which also prompted the deadline extension. Roughly 125 people are staffing the call centers, Kelly said. The call centers are currently receiving roughly 3,000 calls a day as of late last week.

“We knew there would be bumps along the road,” Kelly said. “We are working to improve them.”

The deadline to select a plan was extended, however, Idaho consumers must have applied for tax credit eligibility by Monday in order to get subsidized health coverage on Jan. 1. Idahoans must also have paid for their coverage by Dec. 31 if they want it to start Jan. 1.

Idaho was the only Republican-dominated state out of a dozen states that launched its own health insurance exchange this year. Last year the state relied on the federal government’s exchange website.

The exchange is part of the Affordable Care Act. State officials have promised a smoother insurance shopping experience this year, compared to technical glitches that delayed enrollment in 2013.

While the federal exchange’s website was plagued with serious glitches when it first launched, it quickly outperformed other state exchanges in the following weeks. So much, that states like Oregon chose to rely on the federal government’s site because it was cheaper than fixing their own site.

Nearly 76,000 people in Idaho signed up last year for coverage.

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