POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports about 91,000 Idahoans are now eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage.
And, according to Health West CEO Mindy Benedetti, there are close to 7,000 people in their service area who are now eligible for Medicaid, and around 4,000 in Bannock County. Health West is a community health center serving Bannock, Power, Franklin, and Bingham Counties.
The Idaho State University Health Center is preparing for an increase of patients beginning in January. The Center expects to offer expanded services to those insured by Medicaid.
"Being a Healthy Connection provider means ISU students using Medicaid insurance coverage can choose us as their primary care provider and we can perform additional services that previously would have required a referral to a different provider, such as a specialist," said Crystal Ross, business operations manager for the Health Center. "This will provide convenience and potential cost savings for ISU students who are now eligible for Medicaid coverage."
ISU does not require health insurance for admission, but the ISU Health Center does expect to see an increase in the number of students now utilizing the Medicaid coverage.
"Expanded insurance coverage is a good thing," said Dr. Ron Solbrig, ISU Health Center director. "Expanded coverage will allow students who financially can't afford medical care to receive access to care. I've already had about a dozen of my patients inquire about expanded coverage opportunities and about how to enroll. We are happy to answer these questions and help direct them to resources available through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to get enrolled for Medicaid coverage."
The Idaho State University Health Center provides health care services for Pocatello area students and their spouses, along with ISU faculty and staff, with no charge for office visits for students. The same is the case for Sterling Health, which provides health care services for students, faculty and staff in the Idaho Falls area. Unity Health Service serves ISU students in Meridian.