SANDPOINT, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Reclaim Idaho, which fought to expand Medicaid health insurance in Idaho last year, wants to know more about why Brigham Young University-Idaho this week mysteriously decided to reject coverage for students.
The federal government approved Idaho's Medicaid expansion plan this week. One day after rejecting Medicaid coverage, the university announced it would also reject Medicaid expansion for its students.
“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.”
BYU-I students who don't have other coverage, may have to enroll in the school's own Student Health Plan. Reclaim Idaho said that will cost students $536 per person per semester and cost families $2,130 per semester. Beyond that, the university plan is less comprehensive that Medicaid. That means students who sustain serious medical emergencies may hav to go to local emergency rooms, which extends the cost to Idaho taxpayers.
So far, the university has refused to explain its actions.
"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.”
BYU-Provo still accepts Medicaid for student enrollees.