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State lawmakers approve tailored healthcare for BYU-Idaho

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Apr 12 2013 07:02:25 PM CDT

Both the house and the senate gave BYU-Idaho the go ahead to manage its own health plan for students without going through an insurance company.

REXBURG, Idaho -

The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance policies to provide certain benefits that are morally objectionable by church-sponsored universities, like BYU-Idaho.

Although the Idaho Legislature enacted laws that prohibit insurance companies from offering abortions; the act still requires access to contraceptives and medications that induce abortions.

"They shouldn't have to provide something that their moral convictions tell them isn't appropriate," said Brent Hill, state senator.

Lawmakers said it's all about protecting religious liberties. Both the house and the senate gave BYU-Idaho the go ahead to manage its own health plan for students without going through an insurance company.

"There was a provision that a university could provide a self-funded plan to their own students, where they're not using an insurance company, but they're funding it themselves, collecting premiums from students," said Hill.

The university issued this statement:

"BYU-Idaho welcomes the opportunity to pursue other health insurance options that allow the university to keep costs down for students, to ensure all students have coverage, and to provide coverage that is consistent with our values as an institution," - Marc Stevens, university spokesman.

But students on campus had mixed feelings.

"I have no strong opinion, I'm just on my parent's insurance," said Rhett Fullmer.

"Having our own insurance, it makes sense because we're a private school," said Kristin Melville. "We don't need to do exactly what the government does, but we do what we need to."

"Students are going to have sex here whether or not the school allows it, so taking that option away from them, I don't think it's very smart," said Garrett Allen.

"I think it's good students have the option to choose that insurance if they want it," said Andrew Timmons.  

At the moment, BYU-I is the only university in the state that will manage its own health insurance.

The new legislation takes effect July 1.

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