Even though required to offer plans through the Student Health Insurance Program or SHIP to all full time students, the Idaho State Board of Education made the decision to change their policy when it comes to student health insurance just this past February.

Boise State University, Idaho State University, Lewis and Clark State College, and Eastern Idaho Technical College have decided to end their Idaho student health insurance plans leaving the schools individually to fend for themselves.

It’s still mandatory for students to have health insurance which makes it a bit of a catch 22. When enrollment in the student health insurance plans dropped, rates began to climb in recent years. At this point it became too costly to maintain with other options on the open market becoming available.

Blake Youde says with changes in health care nationwide, there are often more affordable options for students.

“As students’ participation in the students’ health care program continued to decline, that caused individual student costs to increase, which went into that decision or comparison to the health exchange program and what their costs were and that may be a better option for our students,” said Youde.

Many students may be faced with difficult decisions next year. Now that premiums need to be paid monthly rather than being bundled into tuition, a new burden falls on individual families. Couple that with fact that Idaho didn’t expand Medicaid leaving fewer students and families without adequate financial support. Students can go to Your Health Idaho for plans, but if they didn’t make enough money, they won’t qualify for health. If students visit www.idahostudenthealth.com they can search plans both on and off exchange and even see if they are eligible for a tax subsidy for an Idaho health insurance plan.

Students who lose SHIP will qualify to enroll in a new plan under the rules of a Special Enrollment Period, but many will not qualify for tax subsidy support from the federal government if they haven’t earned $11,670 as a single person for the year.

Students who do not enroll in an ACA approved plan will not be permitted to enroll in classes. If students are inbound freshman, they will be allowed to enroll into a short-term medical plan until the federal open enrollment opens on  Nov. 1 for plans to go into effect on Jan.1.

The good news is that Ascension, the current Idaho Student Health Insurance broker has built a custom student health exchange to help students find and enroll in an affordable plan. They have online quoting and enrollment tools along with 450 licensed agents to support the influx of calls.

Some important dates to take note of are:

  • June 1: This is when plan pre-enrollment for an Aug. 1 effective date begins
  • 1 and Aug. 14 are when Boise State, Idaho State and Lewis-Clark plans end respectively.
  • Sept 30 is when the Special Enrollment period ends for enrollment
  • 1: Federal open enrollment begins for Jan. 1 Effective Dates.

For questions about Idaho Health Insurance, visit: www.idahstudenthealth.com