Montana Public Radio

health insurance

Montana Notifying Medicaid Providers Of Temporary Rate Hike

Jun 18, 2018
Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's administration is complying with a judge's order to temporarily reinstate previous Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities but will staunchly defend the rate cut made by the state health department, the governor's budget director said Monday.

The percentages of Americans and Montanans without health insurance 2009-2016
Montana Healthcare Foundation

A report being released today says Montana’s uninsured rate is staying steady at about half of what it was before Medicaid expansion started in 2016. It says just under eight percent of Montanans now lack health insurance.

And, one of the studies outlines what it says are clear benefits to the state as voters and state lawmakers are considering whether to end Medicaid expansion.

Todd Lovshin, VP/MT Regional Director, PacificSource, Scott Malloy, Senior Program Officer, Montana Healthcare Foundation, Dr. Monica Berner, Pres., BCBS Montana, Pam Palagi, V.P.of Finance, St. James Healthcare, Butte, testifying Jan. 17, 2017.
Eric Whitney

A legislative committee on health care prices seems split on whether giving consumers more information about health care prices will make much difference.

Last year Montana's Legislature set up a committee to study transparency in health care pricing, concerned that consumers don't have enough information about what health care procedures cost to shop for the best deals. And that means there's little incentive for providers to offer low prices.

San Francisco's KQED is one of several public radio stations trying to help people find the best prices for healthcare.
KQED.org

Shopping for health care is kind of like going to a grocery store where there aren’t any price tags. That jar of spaghetti sauce might cost $4, or maybe $50. But in health care you typically don’t find out prices until you get to the checkout counter. People with one kind of card pay one price, those with another pay a different one, and you may do better or worse if you offer cash.

Last year Montana lawmakers, frustrated by how hard it is to shop for the best deal in healthcare, set up a special committee to find solutions. That committee meets for the first time Wednesday.

With the final deadline for getting a healthcare plan under the Affordable Care Act now just days away, the number of Montanans who’ve  signed up for insurance plans on healthcare.gov is 2,000 people ahead of this time last year. 

This Friday, December 15, is the last day Montanans can sign up for coverage.

Sen. Jon Tester.
PD

Senate Republicans are pushing for a broad tax cut, contingent on the repeal of the law requiring Americans to buy insurance coverage. Montana Senator Jon Tester wants no part of it.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says eliminating the individual mandate would leave millions uninsured.

Open enrollment has started for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But this year, Montanans hoping get insurance on ACA marketplace will have less time to sign up. The enrollment period for coverage under Affordable Care Act is 6 weeks shorter this year under the Trump administration, than in previous years. 

Health insurance companies in Montana will be allowed to adjust their prices to account for President Trump’s executive order that stops some federal payments to insurers.

That news came Monday, after one company said last week that if they couldn’t change their prices, they’d have to leave the Montana market due to the President eliminating Cost Sharing Reduction, or CSR payments.

MT Senators Say Work Should Continue On Health Care

Aug 2, 2017

Montana’s two U.S. Senators disagree with the decision to abandon work on health care to focus on other legislative priorities. 

Tuesday’s announcement comes after yet another failure by the Republican majority to scrap the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

This map shows spending on health care services via Medicaid expansion by county since January, 2016
Montana DPHHS

A new report says that Medicaid expansion has saved Montana more than $30 million in its first 18 months.

"Medicaid expansion continues to be a stunning success for Montana," said Shiela Hogan, director of Montana's Department of Health and Human Services. "There's no denying this."

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