Three of Idaho’s four main schools for higher education will share student health care services in an effort to cut down on costs. The Idaho State Board of Education unanimously agreed to a three-year contract with Renaissance Agencies, a California-based student health insurance provider, to cover students at Boise State University, Idaho State University, and Lewis-Clark State College. Students on their school’s health insurance plan will see their premiums drop an average of 2 percent in the fall, a $26 savings, and won’t see an increase until the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
Full-time students at Idaho’s four-year public universities and colleges are required to have health insurance. If a student doesn’t prove to their school that they are covered by a personal or family insurance policy, the school will automatically enroll the student in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). The schools will pay Renaissance $11.3 million a year for the insurance contract.
All eight members of the board of education approved the insurance consortium. “This is a prime example of the good progress we can realize when our institutions work together,” board director Mike Rush said about the plan, according to the Department of Education’s Twitter account updated by spokesman Mark Browning. Materials prepared for the board meeting say that health benefits and coverage should improve overall thanks to the new agreement shared among the three institutions. The state board and Renaissance can renew the contract for up to seven years beyond the initial three-year deal.
During its Thursday meeting, the Idaho State Board of Education also approved an administrative restructuring of ISU’s programs that is expected to save the Pocatello university $900,000. The new organizational structure shouldn’t impact degrees and scheduling. The board approved another change at ISU creating a microbiology PhD program at ISU. ISU already has a broader doctorate in biology. The University of Idaho also offers a PhD in microbiology.
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