MTPR

Affordable Care Act

People on Medicaid who work rural seasonal jobs in Montana are wondering about the future of their access to health coverage. Montana recently passed a law that, if it gains federal approval and goes into effect as planned in January, would require many Medicaid recipients to prove they work a set number of hours each month.

Average Monthly Premiums for Second-Lowest Cost Silver Plan in Montana 2016-2019.
Data from: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, https://go.cms.gov/2Jp5SkE

Next year, premiums for individual health insurance plans in Montana will go down for the first time since the Affordable Care Act took effect. Open enrollment starts Friday.

The roughly 50,000 Montanans who receive health coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace could see their premium bills drop by hundreds or thousands of dollars next year.

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line Tuesday, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional.

Montanans who buy individual health care plans through the federal government’s Healthcare.gov marketplace will pay less for it next year, at least partially due to a new state law.

State Auditor Matt Rosendale today announced that the three companies providing insurance under the Affordable Care Act exchange expect to cut average premiums on policies for individuals by 8 to 14% for 2020.

University of Montana economist Bryce Ward says that’s rare in a country where health care costs generally increase faster than inflation.

Former State Rep. Austin Knudsen has announced his candidacy for Attorney General in the 2020 race.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

Former Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen announced Monday that he is seeking the Republican nomination for Montana’s Attorney General race in 2020.

Knudsen served as a representative from Culbertson in the state Legislature from 2011 to 2017, serving as Speaker of the House during his last four years. He’s the second Republican to enter the Attorney General race.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state budget sails through the Legislature; Gov. Bullock says he's "skeptical" about the "save Colstrip" bill; a Colstrip senator launches a vitriolic video slamming press coverage of the Colstrip bill; Attorney General Tim Fox opposes ending Obamacare; and three more candidates enter the races for governor and U.S. House. 

Today's action at the state Legislature notched up tension over one of the 2019 legislative session’s biggest debates. This morning a group of conservative Republicans voted to stall in a committee the bill to continue Medicaid expansion in the state.

Indian Health Service logo.
Indian Health Service / IHS

Native American health advocates are worried the legal battle over the Affordable Care Act will end significant gains for Indian health care.

They say if the Obama-era healthcare act is dismantled, that would also strip away laws that provide funding for tribal health care.

Governor Steve Bullock announced his budget priorities for the upcoming 2019 legislative session, Thursday, November 15. Bullock was joined by Lt. Governor Mike Cooney (left) and Montana Budget Director Tom Livers (right).
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Governor Steve Bullock released his draft state budget and priorities for the upcoming legislative session Thursday. At the top of the list: Re-authorizing Medicaid expansion.

“There’s too much at stake to not keep Medicaid expansion going in Montana,” Bullock says.

Montana’s Medicaid expansion provides health coverage to just over 96,000 people, and it’s set to expire next June.

healthcare.gov website, 11/2/18
Healthcare.gov

The Affordable Care Act’s sixth sign-up season is now underway.

The roughly 62,000 Montanans who buy their own health insurance have until December 15 to shop for a policy. And, for the first time they can also choose to skip out altogether on ‘Obamacare’ without fear of incurring a tax penalty.

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