Montana Public Radio

DPHHS: Medicaid Expansion Has Saved Montana $30 Million

Sep 27, 2017

Figures released today show that nearly 84,000 people are now enrolled under Montana’s Medicaid expansion program, passed by the legislature in 2016.

The legislative committee overseeing the bi-partisan HELP Act that expanded Medicaid in Montana heard the update from the state health department.

It said about half of those enrolled in the program are between the age of 19-34. Native Americans now make up 15 percent of all new enrollees.

Critics of Medicaid expansion have said since before the HELP Act was passed that doing so would exacerbate state budget problems.

Erica Johnston, a DPHHS Operations Management Officer, said that’s false.

“Medicaid expansion has saved $30 million in general funds since January 2016, and the program continues to operate in the black today," Johnston said. 

Montana’s Medicaid expansion is currently paid 100 percent by the federal government through the Affordable Care Act. That will taper down to 90 percent by 2020.

Medicaid expansion has helped reduce Montana’s uninsured rate from about 20 percent before the Affordable Care Act to about seven percent today.

The Montana HELP Act law will expire in 2019, if not renewed by state lawmakers.