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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Medicaid Expansion Returns $3 Million To Montana General Fund

Enrollment in Montana’s expanded Medicaid program is exceeding expectations, and so far has refunded $3 million to the state’s general fund.

That’s according to officials with the state health department who briefed a special expansion oversight committee today.

The department’s Marie Matthews said the $3 million savings is from Medicaid clients the state used to pay for, who are now being covered by increased funding from the federal government.

Matthews says the state is also collecting most of the premiums it’s allowed to charge new Medicaid enrollees.

"$367,000. So we are seeing clients pay the premium and take responsibility for getting healthcare coverage, and for participating in the program, which is exactly the goal."

State officials were expecting about 23,000 people to sign up for expanded Medicaid in its first year, which started January 1. But they say more than 38,000 have signed up already. Nearly half of the new enrollees so far have been young adults.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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