BYU-Idaho Rejects Medicaid Expansion for Students
For Immediate Release — November 16, 2019
Sandpoint — A day after the Federal Government approved Idaho’s State Medicaid Expansion Plan, BYU-Idaho dealt a second blow to students and families in Idaho’s second largest college. The Administration is rejecting Medicaid Expansion for its students just days after it rejected Medicaid coverage. Brigham Young University-Idaho students are required to have health insurance before they can enroll.
“The university is putting students and families at risk with these sudden and unexplained decisions. This was a bad week for the entire BYU-Idaho community,” said Luke Mayville, Reclaim Idaho Co-Founder. “We are hearing from students, families and volunteers throughout Madison County and Eastern Idaho who are outraged by the university’s choice to reject healthcare options for their 20,000 students.”
University officials announced their decisions last week with no explanation. Students and families who otherwise qualify for Medicaid and Medicaid Expansion may have to enroll in the school’s Student Health Plan. That will cost students $536 per person per semester and $2,130 for families per semester. The Plan is decidedly less comprehensive than Medicaid which means students who sustain serious medical emergencies may have to go to local emergency rooms — a cost that hits all Idaho taxpayers.
“The vast majority of students and families we’re hearing from can’t believe the university would make such punitive decisions without explaining why,” added Rebecca Schroeder, Reclaim Idaho Executive Director. “In one paragraph in a press release, they dropped a bombshell on hundreds, if not thousands, of students and are wiping their hands of the issue. The BYU-Idaho community deserves much better than that.”
Brigham Young University in Utah says this is strictly a BYU-Idaho decision. The main campus in Utah still accepts Medicaid for student enrollees.
Background: Reclaim Idaho is the nonpartisan, volunteer organization responsible for getting Medicaid Expansion on the November 2018 ballot. The measure passed with 61% of the statewide vote. In addition to providing healthcare access to tens of thousands of Idahoans, Medicaid Expansion is expected to bring back $400 million in federal funds to Idaho, shore up Idaho’s rural hospitals, and create thousands of jobs around the state.