Montana Public Radio

health insurance

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.

Sen. Albert Olszewski, R-Kalsipell, announced Wednesday, April 3 that he is entering Montana's gubernatorial race in 2020. Two-dozen Republican legislators joined Olszewski on the state Capitol steps, endorsing his candidacy.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Republican state Sen. Al Olszewski announced his candidacy for Montana governor in 2020 during a noon rally on the state Capitol steps today, joining a field that includes two statewide elected officials.

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.

Sen. Nate McConnell announces the Firefighters Protection Act. The bill would allow current or former firefighters to file for health coverage or wage protection if they’re  diagnosed with one of more than dozen diseases. Jan. 29, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Professional firefighters are again asking lawmakers to expand their workers' compensation benefits to cover chronic diseases they’re more likely to catch because of their jobs. However, the unknown price tag that could come with it is posing a hurdle.

'Capitol Talk' is MTPR's weekly legislative analysis program.
Montana Public Radio

The Montana Legislature is now back in session. Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels review week 1 and look at compromises that make it more difficult to kill bills in committee, the outlook for cross-party alliances, and a controversial proposal that would have Montana help fund a wall along the Mexican border.

Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale.
Eric Whitney / MTPR

The company that negotiates deals between pharmacies, prescription drug makers and Montana’s biggest health insurance company has agreed to a $375,000 settlement with the Montana state auditor.

Earlier this year, Auditor Matt Rosendale’s office went after pharmacy benefit management companies, what it calls the ‘middle men’ in the world of prescription drugs. Rosendale alleged those companies are violating Montana insurance law by operating in the state without a license.

Average Employee Premium Contribution Plus Average Deductible as Percent of Median State Income in 2017.
The Commonwealth Fund

A new report says that last year Montanans who got health insurance through their jobs still spend up to 11 percent of their incomes on premiums and deductibles.

Report co-author Sarah Collins with the non-partisan Commonwealth Fund says that can lead to people getting less health care, even though they have insurance.

(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.

Navigators help people shop for health coverage on Healthcare.gov, and from other sources
Healthcare.gov

Montana won't be getting any federal money to help people find health coverage this fall. Since 2013, Washington D.C. has offered grants to non-profits to hire so-called 'navigators' who help people enroll in coverage that's required under the Affordable Care Act.

This year, no Montana organizations applied for the funding. Bozeman Daily Chronicle reporter Katheryn Houghton broke that story and joins us now to tell us more.

Rep. Greg Gianforte meets with Montana tech-industry reps in Missoula, August 20, 2018.
Edward O'Brien

High tech executives in Missoula told Congressman Greg Gianforte that finding qualified labor, and the cost of health coverage are among their biggest challenges.

Gianforte invited a handful of representatives from Montana’s growing high-tech industry to meet with him Monday.

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