University stops accepting Medicaid as health insurance

REXBURG, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho university has stopped accepting Medicaid as health insurance coverage for full-time students amid concerns they said they received from local health care providers.

Brigham Young University-Idaho officials have required students to buy a university-backed health plan, which can cost at least $81 a month for single students and up to $678 a month for a family, the Post Register reported Thursday.

“Due to the health care needs of the tens of thousands of students enrolled annually on the campus of BYU-Idaho, it would be impractical for the local medical community and infrastructure to support them with only Medicaid coverage,” the university said.

However, health officials were not in communication with the university before the change and did not express concerns about acquiring more Medicaid patients, health care providers said.

“It can increase our business,” said Nichole Jeppesen, a family nurse practitioner at Complete Family Care. “We currently take Medicaid patients, and we have enough providers to meet the needs of an increasing population and the Medicaid expansion,” she said.

Madison Memorial Hospital was not in communication with the university, spokesman Doug McBride said.

“I really appreciate and respect BYU-Idaho trying to be fiscally responsible to our community,” McBride said. “I do not particularly see right now there being a lot of extra burden put on providers at this point.”

Jeff Hopkin, a doctor at Upper Valley Family Practice, also said he wasn’t worried either and welcomes new patients.

University officials did not return multiple requests for comment.

Open enrollment for Medicaid expansion began Nov. 1.

Madison County, where the school is located, has the highest concentration of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees in the state, state health officials said.

A list by the state Department of Health and Welfare shows 11 primary care providers in Madison County who accept adult Medicaid patients.

The university plan options are too expensive and have limited coverage, some students have said.

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