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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Medicaid Expansion Brings $75 Million In Federal Funding To Montana

More than 47,000 Montanans have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program state lawmakers narrowly approved last year.

More than 47,000 Montanans have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid programstate lawmakers narrowly approved last year. The state health department reported updated numbers to the legislative committee that oversees Medicaid expansion today.

The new Medicaid enrollees have so far received $75 million in medical care, paid for by the federal government. The federal government pays 100 percent of the cost of the expansion population this year and next, eventually ramping down to 90 percent in 2020, with the state picking up the rest of the tab.

Montana’s Medicaid expansion also requires recipients with incomes greater than 100 percent of the federal poverty level to pay premiums, averaging $26 a month. Officials say 379 Montanans have been dis-enrolled from Medicaid for failing to pay.

The state has collected $1.1 million in Medicaid premiums so far. And the state has saved more than $5 million by shifting some people who previously received Medicaid into the expansion population, and receiving federal reimbursement for them.

Montana's Medicaid expansion also encourages recipients to get job training and find work that provides health benefits, or that pays enough for people to afford to buy their own. Today the committee heard that 62 percent of Medicaid recipients already have jobs. 

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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