MTPR

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana

A barbecue set up next to the Safeway in Helena sells burgers and hotdogs August 19, 2019 to benefit the Lewis and Clark Rural Fire Council. The group of more than a dozen departments builds communication among them during firefighting planning.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Rural volunteer firefighters were some of the first crews on the scene when the North Hills Fire broke out near Helena in late July, and threatened hundreds of homes. Monday, some of those firefighters were raising money in Helena.

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

Health insurers say premiums on the individual market could drop between 10 and 20 percent once a new bill is signed into law. The Montana Reinsurance Association Act is expected to be signed by Gov. Steve Bullock later this week.

The bill creates a new pool of money to help health insurers cover the cost of high ticket claims for health care.

Bill Asks For Transparency In Prescription Drug Prices

Mar 27, 2019
Prescription drugs. Stock photo.
iStock

HELENA -- As the cost of prescription drugs continues to rise, one bill moving through the Montana Legislature would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide information on why the price of a drug has increased.

Hospitalizations and ER visits for alcohol or drug use, primary or secondary diagnosis. Montana 2010 - 2014.
Montana Department of Justice

A Senate bill that aimed to make it easier to get substance abuse treatment in Montana is likely dead. The Senate adjourned Wednesday a few days before Saturday’s deadline to move bills on to the House.

Doctors groups, including the Montana and American Medical Associations, say that now, people who need help may have to wait two years for the next legislative session to cut through what they say is red tape keeping Montanans from accessing recovery options like medication-assisted treatment.

Pills, stock photo.
(PD)

Montana lawmakers and the state insurance commissioner are targeting a generally hidden part of the healthcare system, with new regulations aimed at bringing down prescription drug costs. Companies in the drug supply chain, and the state’s biggest health insurance company, are fighting back.

At the podium, Julie Kelso, a Billings Clinic psychiatrist, announces the $250,000 donation on Dec. 10, 2018. (L to R) John Doran, BCBS Montana; Eric Arzubi, Billings Clinic psychiatrist; and Jim Ducan, President of Billings Clinic Foundation.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Montana’s first-ever medical residency program for psychiatrists received a quarter-million-dollar gift Monday. Advocates are hopeful that establishing residencies will grow the number of mental health professionals in the state.

Until recently, Montana was one of only three states in the country without a program to train psychiatrists. The other two, Alaska and Wyoming, are also among the top three places for suicides per capita - Montana is at the top of that list.

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.

(PD)

Governor Steve Bullock is creating a bipartisan working-group to develop a plan to reduce premiums for people who buy health insurance on the federal marketplace.

A Montana Healthcare Foundation study found that reinsurance programs insulate insurers from very high claims and save consumers money.

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.

Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale.
Eric Whitney / MTPR

Montana's insurance commissioner says two of the three companies offering health insurance through the individual market in the state cannot adjust their rates following President Donald Trump's decision to end federal subsidies for low-to-middle-income people.

Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale says he'll hold the Montana Health Co-op and PacificSource Health Plans to the rate increases they proposed, which average four percent for the co-op and 7.4 percent for PacificSource.

Pages