Health & Medical Insurance in Boise
Boise, Idaho was recently named the healthiest U.S. city for men by Men’s Health for 2013, though it surely has an equal amount of health benefits for female residents, as well (ranked #4 by Women’s Health this year). With fast commute times based on the prevalence of biking and the city’s adaptation to cyclists, Boise was also strong in all 38 health-based criteria measured by the magazine. Settled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boise gives its residents access to some of the nation’s best terrain for outdoor activities, as well as urban recreation, happily surrounded by trees. The city’s location also makes it easy to find nutritious foods, especially local ones.
Medical coverage in Boise is also within an affordable price range, making it simple for all those healthy Boise residents to stay that way. For individual health insurance, the regional carrier PacificSource covers slightly more than the competition, including vision care and chiropractic services for a copay, though most comprehensive plans offer prescription and maternity coverage for less than $150 per month for a healthy male. Coventry One also offers good deals in Boise including plans with an ER copay (though they will soon be owned by Aetna so your plan may be subject to change).
As for what your health plan can do for your health, depending on the carrier you choose, you can find a plan that might want to help you stay well by providing discounts and extras. Blue Cross of Idaho offers several member benefits in addition to their insurance coverage, such as discounts on fitness clubs, complementary and alternative medicine, as well as orthodontics, vision care, and hearing. PacificSource offers help for members who want to stop using tobacco or take free health and wellness classes. Always ask your insurer about additional services you may have access to. Search your rates and available plans in Boise by entering your zip code below.
Living Well & Paying Less
Boise is a great place to live for a high quality of life at a low cost. The Pacific Northwest is a sought-after location for its lush natural lands and Boise is no exception, surrounded by mountains, as well as state and national parks. However, health insurance is a bit of a nuisance when it comes to saving, as there is only one way to avoid higher prices – which is to have a perfect medical history and be in optimal health.
Even if you are in peak condition, the “average” rates are immovable, which makes it all the more worthwhile to discover ways to get your money’s worth. Asking your health plan about its additional benefits can give your plan more value, and work in your favor for more than just those few annual preventive exams.
The most important way to reduce medical spending is to utilize your health-centered environment and stay well. Dodging extra doctor’s office visits starts with maintaining your immune system and doing your part. While to much of Boise such statements are preaching to the choir, it never hurts to reinforce that your city is ideal for healthy living. Below is a small sample of the many opportunities for activity through enjoying the outdoors.
There are numerous ways to show nature some love in the Boise whether it’s snowy or sunny. The area also transcends the norm with interesting options such as snow kiting and a muddy 10K. The Examiner did a great article several years ago listing ten outdoor activities to try in Boise, including a few of the following. Of course, the standard biking and hiking are crucial in Boise, as well as various other adventures you have right outside your door (or within a decent commute).
If you have a pair of skis, you can cross country ski just about anywhere the snow is deep enough. It’s a great mode of winter transportation (and a gas-saver), as well as a fun way to experience the outdoors. With Idaho’s long winters, you can make your own path or visit one of the local ski areas for a more extensive and natural ski. Bogus Basin is the closest and best option for Boise residents, though you also have access to the Boise National Forest with a bit longer drive.
- Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area: 2600 N Bogus Basin Rd, (208) 332-5100.
- Idaho Nordic Ski Club: Boise, ID
- Boise National Forest: Mountain Home, ID
- Lake Cascade State Park: Cascade, ID
Hiking & Trail Running
For great hiking in Boise, you dont even have to leave the city. While most residents may be familiar with Table Rock, it’s about time to pay it a regular visit! Sure, it’s busier than other trails, but you still have a fair share of different locations to choose from if you prefer a less crowded hike. If you travel a few miles out, you will find a few other multi-use trails, especially in ski areas during the off-season. Bogus Basin is also a great spot for hiking and mountain biking during the summer. Many trails are easy enough to bring the family.
- Table Rock: Boise, ID
- Crestline – Sidewinder Loop: Boise, ID
- Hulls Gulch Lower Loop: Boise, ID
- Freestone Trail: Boise, ID
- Homestead (Squaw Creek) Trail: Boise, ID
Mountain biking in Idaho gets pretty serious, with a combination of sandy and rocky terrain and steep climbs. There are enough trails to rotate your schedule, and another perk is the high concentration of trails near the city, which makes it easier to access and helps you save some gas. Visit Trails.com for a massive list of mountain biking spots around Boise, and try a few of these to keep you busy in the meantime.
- 8th Street High Loop: Boise, ID
- Barber – Warm Springs Loop: Boise, ID
- Castle Rock – Table Rock Loop: Boise, ID
- Lucky Peak Loop: Boise, ID
- Redtail Ridge Loop: Boise, ID
The city of Boise includes an impressive 220+miles of bike lanes and 46 miles of routes specifically for cyclists, creating a great excuse to give the car a rest. Biking not only saves you time and gas, it contributes immensely to your health. For a less crowded cruise, these are also several trails where you can take the more rugged bike out for an off-road spin, or ride along a paved scenic path, like the Boise River Greenbelt. Boise loves bikes…and you probably should too, if you live there. Here are a few more natural spots to pedal around.
The Boise area boasts the highest number of rock climbing spots in the state of Idaho, mostly located at Table Rock, Lucky Peak, and Swan Falls. You can get warmed up at several indoor climbing gyms throughout the city, several of which are YMCA locations, so it’s not going to cost too much. Also, if you’re a student at Boise State, you have access to a climbing wall for free. Rock climbing provides a fun way to engage your attention and focus into your surroundings. View all your climbing options around Boise at RockClimbing.com.
- Table Rock: The Quarry: Boise, ID
- Table Rock: The Cave: Boise, ID
- Lucky Peak: East Carbody Canyon: Boise, ID
- Mores Mountain: Buffalo Rock: Boise, ID
- Swan Falls: The Boulders: Kuna, ID
With multiple farmers’ markets and a state known for its farmland (mostly for potatoes), Boise residents have fresh, local foods right down the street. Boise’s healthy residents also have the co-ops and organic grocery stores you would expect from an active mountain city with great access to nearby farms. If you choose to dine out, there is also an assortment of natural restaurants to consider. Supplementing your good health with excellent food choices is second nature in this city. Just take a look at a few of these lovely places to eat and shop around Boise for post-hike nourishment.
- Boise Co-Op: A large, beautiful co-op with fresh local, natural foods, as well as soups and a hot bar. You can even shop responsibly for your pet food! 888 W Fort St, (208) 472-4500.
- Capital City Public Market: Open from April to December every Saturday, this farmers’ market offers a wide variety of locally grown and made products. 802 W Bannock St #800, (208) 345-3499.
- The Boise Farmers Market: A great, affordable way to buy top-notch produce and foods straight from the source. 11th and Grove St., (208) 863-6947.
- Mai Thai Restaurant: Healthy, organic and high quality ingredients with a vast menu of modern Asian deliciousness. 750 W Idaho St, (208) 344-8424.
- Red Feather Lounge: Lounge serving weekend breakfast and dinner every day with fresh, seasonal and mostly organic ingredients. 246 N. 8th St, (208) 429-6340.
- Locavore: Great local spot for breakfast and brunch with amazing, nutritious menu choices made from scratch. 3110 S Bown Way, (208) 338-888.
- The Front Door: Restaurant and tap house with some healthy options (pizza, salad) among the diverse selection of American cuisine. All fresh and organic. 105 S. 6th St., (208) 287-9201.
Image: National Geographic.