Starting next semester, Brigham Young University-Idaho is no longer accepting Medicaid as a substitute for its Student Health Plan.

Full Medicare is still accepted as a substitute. 

The school quietly made the change last week, without sending an announcement to students.

BYU–Idaho requires most students to have health insurance coverage in the Rexburg area, or participate in the BYU-Idaho Student Health Plan.

According to the school's website, the Student Health Plan costs $536 per person per semester, and $2,130 per family per semester. 

Before the change in policy last week, the Student Health Plan waiver form listed "full coverage Idaho Medicaid or Medicare" as an acceptable substitute. Out-of-state Medicaid was not accepted.

According to the BYU-Idaho Student Health Center, the change is in response to the planned Medicaid expansion in Idaho. The expansion passed via ballot initiative last year. Enrollment for the expansion kicks off this Friday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' Church Educational System office in Salt Lake City says this was not a church directive, but a choice made by BYU-Idaho.

One BYU-Idaho student, Paul, isn't on Medicaid now, but says he's had problems with BYU-Idaho's insurance policies in the past.

Paul says he was on the BYU-Idaho Student Health plan in 2015, but was forced to pay a tax penalty after the Student Health Plan no longer qualified as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 

He did not feel comfortable releasing his last name for this story.

"Each student has an individual need with individual problems and individual circumstances,” says Paul.

“What may be a cookie cutter for some people...still is not going to's not a 'one size fits all.'"

BYU in Provo does accept Medicare and Medicaid as acceptable plans.


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