- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho County commissioners have scheduled a meeting concerning health insurance for county employees who have religious objections to the county’s existing plan.

The April 21 meeting will offer employees options if they have objections to the county’s existing Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance plan through Regence, which covers abortion, contraception and sterilization procedures, Commission Chairman Jim Chmelik told the Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/1FqDPED ).

Commissioners set the meeting after newly elected Commissioner Mark Frei voiced objections to the current plan, the Lewiston newspaper reported in a story Thursday.

Frei “just wants to be able to offer an alternative under the (Affordable Care Act) outside the current health care insurance plan if you have a rights-of-conscience objection,” Chmelik said.

Chmelik said Frei drafted a resolution, but commissioners tabled it at a meeting earlier this week. Chmelik said commissioners are working on revisions to the draft resolution before offering it to employees.

Chmelik said an employee would be able to choose a different plan.

“You can simply choose another plan, and it’s got to be equal to or lesser than what the county is currently offering,” he said. “So it’s just offering another alternative to county employees. It’s not forcing anybody.”

Chmelik said commissioners have not passed a resolution that would force county employees to switch to religious-based insurance program.

“We have not passed a resolution,” he said. “We’re working on a resolution and we’re having a meeting, if people want to talk about it.”

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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