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Idaho exchange contract raises conflict of interest concerns

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Posted at 1:59 PM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 15:59:43-04

Idaho has hired St. Luke's Health System to help people choose which insurance plans to pick on the online insurance exchange -- even though the health care giant stands to financially benefit when customers choose certain plans.

Some Your Health Idaho board members raised concerns Friday because there is no oversight mechanism that would keep the hospital from steering customers to more lucrative plans. Still, they voted unanimously to approve the $272,000 contract with St. Luke's and the Idaho Primary Care Association after asking Your Health Idaho Executive Director Pat Kelly to find a way to audit the contractors.

Kelly says the concerns are unnecessary because the contractors are required to be impartial and not make recommendations. They are simply supposed to advise customers about the different plans available and tell them how to sign up.

St. Luke's has a business partnership with Utah-based insurer SelectHealth, one of the four carriers on the exchange.

by Kimberlee Kruesi
Associated Press