Bill to boost teacher health coverage glides through Idaho House
Idaho teachers are one step closer to getting more affordable health coverage.
House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to approve the bill Monday, which would incentivize school districts to join the state of Idaho’s health plan.
If funded through a separate bill, the state would cover another $4,000 of a teacher’s health insurance costs to bring them on-par with state employees.
The proposal, which was teased in Gov. Brad Little’s State of the State address, is estimated to cost $105 million.
Rep. Gary Marshall (R-Idaho Falls) taught in public schools at the beginning of his career. Marshall said his modest salary couldn’t support his expensive health plan and family.
“It is time for us to do this. It is extremely important. I left public education because I couldn’t make it,” he said.
Marshall eventually left to work at Rick’s College, which has since been renamed BYU-Idaho, for a slight pay bump and a significantly more affordable insurance plan.
Rep. Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) said she wants to help teachers by transitioning them to the state’s plan.
“But what that’s really doing in the free market is giving a windfall to [Blue Cross of Idaho],” Scott said.
Blue Cross of Idaho services the state’s plan, which is competitively bid. The insurance company first won the contract in 2005 and again in 2014.
The Idaho Division of Purchasing plans to release a new call for proposals later this year.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
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