Health Care

Blue Cross of Idaho Ad
Sawyer Miller for Blue Cross of Idaho

If you buy your own health insurance rather than getting it from an employer, you’ll probably pay more for it next year, maybe a lot more. Health insurance carriers have told the Idaho Department of Insurance what changes they want to make to plans next year and the department has posted those proposed changes on its website. Six insurers want to make substantial rate increases that average 27 percent.

St Luke's Hospital Sign
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that one of Idaho’s largest employers was systematically violating the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Labor Department says St Luke’s Medical Center failed to ensure that employees received FMLA protections.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

We learned last week that Idaho could get its first medical school two years from now. But the announcement that it would be a school of osteopathic medicine left a lot of people wondering just what that is. Everybody knows what an M.D. is. But you may not know that an M.D. has a degree in allopathic medicine. Someone with a degree in osteopathic medicine is a D.O.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building House Chambers
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Last month, Idaho Governor Butch Otter proposed a plan to provide health care to the estimated 78,000 Idahoans who don’t qualify for either Medicaid or subsidized health insurance under Idaho’s health exchange. The Primary Care Access Program would've subsidized basic doctor visits for those people, but last week a legislative committee voted against using tobacco settlement money to partially fund the $30 million proposal.

County Health Rankings

You’re more likely to live past the age of 75 in Washington than you are in Idaho. That’s according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. The report analyzes states – and the counties within them – on a range of measures.

This program was originally broadcast in April of 2015.

Antibiotics are wonder drugs that can thwart disease and save lives. But they also have the potential to trigger new health problems when used indiscriminately, according to medical doctor and microbiologist Martin J. Blaser.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Attorneys representing Idaho inmates in a class action lawsuit over prison health care told a federal judge Wednesday that prison officials intentionally misled a court-appointed examiner and the department should be punished by the court.

But attorneys for the state denied the inmates' claims and countered that the allegations are based on incomplete evidence that has been taken out of context.

Omar Bárcena / Flickr

Idaho's online insurance exchange needs to collect $9 million in revenue by the summer of 2017 or risk dipping into its limited reserves in order to stay in business.

The federal government stopped providing funding for state-based exchanges on Jan. 1. This means the 13 states currently operating their own exchange must find a way to become sustainable.

A.Currell / Flickr

As Idaho gets ready for the third year of using a state health exchange under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are still adapting to the new system. This month, those companies announced some proposed rate increases for insurance policies next year.

The Associated Press reported last week that Blue Cross of Idaho has asked for the most rate hikes.

“[That’s] simply because we offer more plan options for people,” says Josh Jordan, manager of Corporate Communications with Blue Cross of Idaho. He says every insurance carrier in the state asked for increases.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Patients seeking care at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Boise have some of the longest waits for care in the entire VA system according to government data reviewed by The Associated Press.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics show that about 1 in every 16 patients seeking care during a six-month period at the Boise facility had to wait 31 days or longer. That compares to a national average of about 1 in 36 patients.

During that time period there were more patients waiting three months or longer for care in Boise than there were in 45 states.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has signed legislation that will ban Idaho women from receiving abortion-inducing drugs via telemedicine.

The new law signed on Monday requires a doctor to be physically present when giving pregnancy-ending pills. But telemedicine is not even currently available in the state.

The law also requires doctors to make efforts to schedule a follow-up visit with the woman after administering the drugs.

Morgan / Flickr Creative Commons

Latinos in Idaho experience barriers that make the process of enrolling in healthcare through the state's  insurance exchange more challenging. That's according to a report released Thursday by a liberal advocacy group, the Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN).

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The budget for Idaho’s behavioral health division includes funding for a second mental health crisis center.

The Spokesman-Review's Eye on Boise blog reports the Department of Health and Welfare’s budget plan includes $1.7 million for the 24-hour crisis center.

The crisis centers are meant to keep people out of jail or hospital emergency rooms, and instead connect them with appropriate mental health care services.

Legislation requiring genetic counselors to be licensed in Idaho has cleared both chambers in the Statehouse.

The Idaho House approved the licensing bill 45-25 on Tuesday. The proposal is now headed to the governor's desk.

The legislation creates a licensing system by having a three-member oversight board, as well as licensing requirements for genetic counselors.

screen grab wallethub.com

According to the financial website WalletHub, Idaho is the 9th worst state for women. Lists ranking states on various things come out almost daily and we don’t often report on them, and WalletHub in particular is a list juggernaut. But this one caught our eye.

Idaho was dead last for women’s preventative health care, but in the middle of the state rankings for women’s health care overall.

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