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Insurer Leaves Idaho Reducing Choices

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s health insurance exchange lost its only for-profit insurer, cutting by nearly 10 percent of the marketplace’s coverage offerings even before the Internet marketplace opened its doors.

Altius Health Plans was slated to have 15 different policies on the Idaho exchange. With its exit, only 146 health insurance policies will be offered, from four nonprofit companies.

Altius’ departure, which comes after its parent company was purchased by insurance giant Aetna, cuts into one of the Idaho exchange’s goals.That’s to offer as many choices to uninsured consumers as possible, to promote competition, reduce prices and raise service expectations.

Stephen Weeg, Idaho’s insurance exchange board chairman, said he would have preferred Altius had stayed in. Aetna says it exited Idaho to concentrate on its most-competitive markets, but could return come 2015.

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