MTPR

Montana HELP Act

PD.

The committee that oversees Montana’s Medicaid expansion is expected to recommend that it continue beyond its 2019 sunset date.

A draft document released Friday suggests expansion has helped nine percent more adults who are eligible for Medicaid join the workforce in Montana. It also says six percent more of Medicaid eligible adults with disabilities are joining the workforce.

Montana lawmakers voted to expand Medicaid here in 2015 in part because the bill doing so included incentives to help those receiving the health coverage to get jobs, or better paying jobs.

Ongoing budget cuts mean the State of Montana has ended a contract that paid a big health insurance company $6 million a year to manage Medicaid recipients. That’s more than twice as much as it allocates to the state health department for similar work.

This map shows spending on health care services via Medicaid expansion by county since January, 2016
Montana DPHHS

A new report says that Medicaid expansion has saved Montana more than $30 million in its first 18 months.

"Medicaid expansion continues to be a stunning success for Montana," said Shiela Hogan, director of Montana's Department of Health and Human Services. "There's no denying this."

As lawmakers continue crafting the state’s budget, officials with Montana’s health department say the state’s Medicaid programs need more funds to keep up with caseloads. 

As Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services faces a proposed $93 million dollars in budget cuts in the wake of  state revenue shortfalls, the department’s new director says she hopes to maintain efforts to combat Montana’s high suicide rate.

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