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BYU-I and Medicaid


Traela

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Has anyone outside of SE Idaho heard about this?  BYU-I has decided it will no longer accept Medicaid as an insurance option.  It initially gave no reason, plus Provo and Hawaii still do accept it.  Now they’re saying that local doctors can’t handle that many Medicaid patients.  The whole thing seems rather bizarre.

https://www.eastidahonews.com/2019/11/byu-idaho-explains-medicaid-rejection-medical-community-skeptical/

 

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1 hour ago, Traela said:

Has anyone outside of SE Idaho heard about this?  BYU-I has decided it will no longer accept Medicaid as an insurance option.  It initially gave no reason, plus Provo and Hawaii still do accept it.  Now they’re saying that local doctors can’t handle that many Medicaid patients.  The whole thing seems rather bizarre.

https://www.eastidahonews.com/2019/11/byu-idaho-explains-medicaid-rejection-medical-community-skeptical/

 

If local doctors are refusing to treat Medicaid insured new patients, then it makes good sense imo for BYUI to no longer accept it as an option to avoid students getting stuck with not being able to find a doctor to treat them and having to go home or to pay out of pocket to get seen.

Havent read the article yet though to see if this is accurate.

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After reading the article, I wouldn't be surprised if there was only input from a few people and that no survey of the community took place because it was assumed the people consulted or who volunteered info (maybe shared at a church meeting or around the dinner table of an administrator) knew enough about the greater community when they didn't.

Edited by Calm
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From my take on the article is seems this decision took the local medical community by surprise, and many are questioning the BYU-I decision.

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After the statement was released, EastIdahoNews.com began reaching out to medical organizations to see if they were planning to accept Idaho’s expanded Medicaid and if they expected to be able to handle the caseload.

Several medical providers responded Wednesday and told EastIdahoNews.com, that they have not been involved in any discussions with the university about the Medicaid expansion, but that they had been preparing for an influx of new patients.

 

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Grand Peaks Medical and Dental CEO Lori Sessions said her clinic has been busily working on expanding its offerings in anticipation of Medicaid expansion.

“We are currently expanding to provide more access to medical, dental and behavioral health services in all Grand Peaks locations in anticipation of the influx of patients that Medicaid expansion could possibly bring,” she said.

 

 

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There also seems to be push back on BYU I decision.  This article states the a petition started regarding the universities rejection of Medicaid.

 

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Students and policy advocates are speaking out about Brigham Young University-Idaho’s decision to reject Medicaid and the university’s failure to say why.

https://www.eastidahonews.com/2019/11/petition-started-regarding-brigham-young-university-idahos-rejection-of-medicaid-expansion/

Edited by sunstoned
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17 hours ago, Calm said:

If local doctors are refusing to treat Medicaid insured new patients, then it makes good sense imo for BYUI to no longer accept it as an option to avoid students getting stuck with not being able to find a doctor to treat them and having to go home or to pay out of pocket to get seen.

Havent read the article yet though to see if this is accurate.

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After reading the article, I wouldn't be surprised if there was only input from a few people and that no survey of the community took place because it was assumed the people consulted or who volunteered info (maybe shared at a church meeting or around the dinner table of an administrator) knew enough about the greater community when they didn't.

Apparently that's the reason. Although it seems that none of the local doctors had any of those concerns. Just one quote:

"Doug McBride, spokesman for Madison Memorial Hospital, said the hospital was not in communication with the university on this topic before the university decided not to accept Medicaid. He said the hospital and those associated with it have not expressed concern about acquiring more Medicaid patients and that Madison County has a strong medical community ready to handle the county’s needs."

https://www.postregister.com/news/education/local-doctors-question-byu-idaho-medicaid-claims/article_39a44e74-7203-5bd4-8060-52c1a0fc5551.html

All that aside, BYUI is really incredibly cheap compared to other universities-even paying an extra 500 dollars+ for the health plan.

 

 

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Affecting people out there apparently. https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2019/11/22/byu-idaho-no-longer/

Also, according to this article the school is asking that the students not put out negative comments about the situation. 

https://religionnews.com/2019/11/22/student-reporters-at-byu-idaho-allegedly-pressured-not-to-publish-negative-stories/

Edited by Tacenda
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Sorry...this seems like a really dumb decision. It hurts students that are low income. If they won't accept Medicaid, they should provide the student insurance to students who were on medicaid or eligible for medicaid. I view this as another PR blunder for the church that has real consequences for students.

The religion news story is just appalling. But, in the real world, the independent journalist is mostly dead. ;) Editors shut down stories and shape news all the time these days. 

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Also, maternity coverage for non student spouses is terrible on the student plan. Expense covered only after spending $4750 out of pocket. The church should not do this to their students. It’s a terrible policy. 

https://www.dmba.com/nsc/handbooks/student/hbbyuid2018.pdf

Could not find year 2019-2020

....but non student spouses can be on Medicaid. That is a bad family health plan though for a pro-family school.

Edited by bsjkki
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To be clear, a month before Christmas these students were informed they now had to pay $536/student/semester $2130/family/semester (year round 3-semester coverage required) by January (or find another commercial plan that was ACA compliant and valid in Rexburg http://www.byui.edu/health-center/student-health-plan) if they wanted to stay enrolled. Medicaid already provides full coverage so the additional policy they are being forced to pay is unnecessary.

https://bycommonconsent.com/2019/11/25/the-byu-idaho-medicaid-controversy-a-view-from-the-ground/?fbclid=IwAR270YvxmBhSjfvUYxZIH-HVGuHavIIiDs8hI0smIy-9xWddgxbNC2zxYmk

If accurate, requiring students to come up with $536 or $2130 in a little over a month...at Christmas time for a full year's coverage is ridiculous.  These students include students already accepted (contracted?) under previous acceptance of it a week earlier).  Could this be a violation of a contract?

I would suggest a lot of wards have Christmas donations going to some sort of fund if they have some sort of connection.

Does BYUI have a waiting list that will replace students dropped for non payment, which could amount to a couple of thousand I am guessing or are they going to suffer by not having as many students as planned and need to drop classes and teachers?

Edited by Calm
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BYU-Idaho’s lack of explanation was fueling speculation, as were their own employees at the Student Health Center. Students were reporting being told, among other things, that the school didn’t want to overwhelm the local medical community with new enrollees, that accepting Idaho Medicaid but not Medicaid from other states would result in discrimination, or that the school had “moral concerns” both about what Medicaid covered and about what it would force the local medical providers to do. One student met with an admin at the SHC and was given a lecture about how Medicaid expansion didn’t just effect students, they needed to stop being so selfish and realize that it would affect the local community and property taxes and rent would be going up. They were also telling students not to rely what they hear on social media because everyone was spreading false reports to make them look bad. Hmmm.

 

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Over that first weekend, on Saturday the 16th, students from the FB protest group that had been created a few days earlier met on campus to organize. In the comments of the Facebook live video a student employee at KBYI reported they’d been banned from covering the story. An alum who is actively involved in the group confirmed it with a friend who worked there the next day. On Monday the 18th a tweet of mine about silencing student media went viral. More reporters filled my inbox as a result, and I once again helped coordinate sources for them. The resulting Post Register and Religion News Service articles from the situation include anonymous sources from the BYU-Idaho Scroll confirming the gag order (and includes leaked audio of a staff meeting! Leakers, take a bow!).

BYUI needs to look for a new PR person, imo.  I can see people pulling donations out of anger for shafting students, especially married students trying to start families, or because they now see the school as wishy-washy and untrustworthy.

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Due to the healthcare 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. However, many private insurance plans can cover the insurance waiver.

What would be the difference between Medicaid paying the medical community and a private insurance company?

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The third time I went to the financial aid office they finally let me meet with a counselor, who told me that I didn’t qualify for aid, but if I listed the assets I’d be willing to sell they would be willing to raise the cap on my loans. I responded “Let me make sure I understand. If I prove to you that I have sufficiently abased myself to be worthy of help, you will allow me to further into debt to pay for superfluous insurance?” and her response was “Yes, that’s correct. I’m sorry if that is frustrating to you.” It’s embarrassing to ask for help in the first place. It’s embarrassing to my parents that I have to detail their financial struggles as well. It’s frustrating to have to ask my bishop to help me pay for health insurance I don’t want or need. Also, the formal requirements to prove I’m worthy to be helped is frustrating enough, but there is usually an informal expectation that I tell my whole medical history and financial woes to everyone I talk to before they will pass me along to the person I actually need to talk to. I’ve been outright accused of lying about how poor I am twice, and had comments like “You sure dress well for someone on government assistance” a few times. Not to mention “That’s what you get for relying on socialism” and “Welcome to the real world.” Just to be clear, it’s not university officials saying things like that. Those are the responses I get from student employees while I’m looking for who to talk to.

This seems contrary to Church principles on a variety of levels.

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I have been incredibly impressed with these BYU-Idaho students navigating a complicated intersection of religion, politics, and healthcare – and being the ones harmed the most by events beyond their control. They’ve repeatedly expressed their love for BYUI and respect for administration, and that they’re disagreeing with policy and not doctrine. They continually encourage positive communication and have even suggested fasting for their leaders.

Ray of light here at least.  Hopefully they can maintain this attitude.

Edited by Calm
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2 hours ago, Calm said:

This seems contrary to Church principles on a variety of levels.

Ray of light here at least.  Hopefully they can maintain this attitude.

I came to post the same article. It made me angry. Why would BYUI do this to their students. It seems underhanded and dishonest. It seems to “lack honor.” I don’t think BYUI is being honest about their reasons either I was struck by all the rumored explanation.

“The first thing everyone jumps to is saying this is a “cash grab.” That’s not necessarily how I would describe if they do have concerns of solvency of their DMBA student plan. I’m not sure how accurate this concern could be since the state estimated less than 3,000 new enrollees for the county, and only a portion of that is students. The NYT has a pretty good explainer of how the BYUs have become the last holdouts under ACA of rejecting real insurance for self-funded group pools, thus giving them freedom to not have to conform to ACA requirements. 

I’ve heard through the grapevine that administration has long wanted to get all their students off public health plans. This could be for ideological reasons; thinking it’s creeping socialism or to get students “off the dole.” Administration could have seen the expansion as a perfect time to try to make it happen. 

I have an anonymous source who has heard from a fairly high-level employee that the decision comes from Salt Lake and BYU-Idaho is a test market to see how it goes. I have no reason to doubt this report, especially as it was the first story out of the student health center before they realized this would become a “thing.” If it is untrue it means that their own high-level employees are either ignorant or engaged in misinformation and deflection.

Students were told “moral concerns” were a motivating factor. On campus health care providers have already been telling students for years that DMBA can’t offer contraception or they’d be forced by the government to cover abortion (this isn’t true, according to healthcare.gov contraception required would cap out at emergency contraception, i.e. Plan B, which does not end pregnancies and can only prevent them). In addition, I’ve heard a student say they were told Medicaid would force local doctors to perform services against their conscience alluding to abortion, which a local told them is not true. I wonder if they are worried a transgender person would seek out services under Medicaid and this has something to do with their worried about religious freedom / LGBTQ rights.

The right-wing republicans in the Idaho legislature have a motivation for keeping as many people as possible outraged over Medicaid expansion. They still are hoping to overturn it, and our former Area Authority, C. Scott Grow, is now a legislator who has proposed limiting the use of voter initiatives in the legislature. Idaho republicans in committee suggested making counties bear cost, and while most moderates–including our own state senator Brent Hill–think it would be unnecessary, the rumor has been spreading locally that everyone’s property taxes are definitely going up because of this. The community discussions quickly devolve into name calling of entitled whiny kids, Ezra Taft Benson quotes, taxation is theft, etc. It is possible someone with political motivations could have gotten to BYUI President’s Council and convinced them it was their responsibility to minimize as much tax burden as possible. One student who had not coordinated with protestors did 40 hours of research into Medicaid and went to the executive offices to discuss the issue. They were allowed to meet with a VP who told them the state expected 30k enrollees and already were on pace for 90k. This is easily debunked and false: the state expected around 90k and on the date they’d met approx. 30k had enrolled so far.”

In absence of a justifiable rational, people fill in the blanks.

I know what it’s like to be on Medicaid, be poor, have escalating health costs. This is a slap in the face. Healthcare is crazy unaffordable at this point. This is not the time to remove our country’s safety net for those trying to improve themselves and become self sufficient.

I am no longer poor or on Medicaid but where would I be if that had not been an option during my college years when I was young, married, pregnant and a college student at BYU. 

I know many who send their kids to BYU I because it is their only affordable option. This just makes me really sad because this decision hurts these families and for what? I don’t get it.

 

 

Edited by bsjkki
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