BYU Idaho sign

BYU-Idaho students are organizing to protest the Rexburg university's decision to stop accepting Medicaid as an acceptable health plan to waive the school’s student insurance policy, writes reporter Nathan Brown of the Post Register. An online petition asking the university to explain and rescind the policy had gotten more than 5,800 signatures as of midday Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t have been able to go to school and go through two pregnancies in two calendar years without being able to waive the Student Health Plan by being enrolled in Medicaid,” one former student wrote. “This is an appropriate season of life to use something that is government-funded for the sake of growth and paying it forward as we students go into the workforce and pay taxes that will supplement programs like this. We need Medicaid.”

Word came out last week that BYU-Idaho would no longer accept Medicaid to waive the student health plan, meaning students who are covered by Medicaid must seek out other coverage or pay for a student health plan, which costs $536 per semester for an individual and $2,130 for a family.

Idaho voters voted in 2018 to expand Medicaid to everyone making up to 138 percent of the poverty level, and BYU-Idaho’s decision comes less than two months before expanded coverage will take effect. State officials project 6 percent of Madison County residents will qualify for Medicaid expansion, the highest percentage in Idaho.

Many universities, although not all, require students to have health insurance — in Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University don’t, for example. Other BYU system schools, including the main Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah, still accept Medicaid to waive student health plans. BYU-Idaho officials have not explained their decision publicly.

You can read Brown's full story here at postregister.com.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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