TREASURE VALLEY — In an effort to stabilize and eventually lower Idahoans’ healthcare costs, St. Luke’s Health Systems has partnered with Utah-based insurance company SelectHealth.

St. Luke’s hopes to use savings from the partnership — which could be about a dime for every dollar that would normally have gone to the insurance company — to promote preventative care and to incentivize medical providers to use treatment methods that are less expensive for the patient, St. Luke’s President and CEO David Pate said.

The partnership will allow SelectHealth to expand coverage in Idaho, including to St. Luke’s 10,000 employees, Pate said. SelectHealth will establish a Boise office and start offering the new plan this fall and early next year. A large network of physicians and healthcare facilities called BrightPath are participating.

Focus on preventative care is becoming more important because of the rise in childhood obesity, he said. Today’s kids are more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, strokes, arthritis and cancer 10 to 30 years earlier than their parents and grandparents. If preventative action isn’t take, the health system is going to be overwhelmed, Pate said.

“Although we’ve got a healthcare crisis today, I fear what’s coming at us far worse because those healthcare costs are going to increase dramatically.”

A partnership like this hasn’t been done before and isn’t proven yet, Pate said, but the goal is to reduce insurance premium costs for patients within five years.

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