Montana Public Radio

health insurance

In an effort to control prices on air ambulance rides in Montana, lawmakers are considering urging Congress to revise the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.
Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-SA)

An attempt to regulate air ambulance services supported by Democratic Senator Jon Tester struck out in the U.S. Senate Thursday.

Enrollment in Montana’s expanded Medicaid program is exceeding expectations, and so far has refunded $3 million to the state’s general fund.

That’s according to officials with the state health department who briefed a special expansion oversight committee today.

Governor Bullock & Pam Bucy launching the HELP-Link program Feb. 08, 2015 in Great Falls.
Corin Cates-Carney

On Monday, the next phase of Montana’s Medicaid expansion was announced at a job service center in Great Falls. Expanding Medicaid under the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act was a hard sell to Montana Republicans in the 2015 legislature until Republican Senator Ed Buttrey introduced a workforce initiative into the healthcare bill, among other changes.

Montana Capitol in Helena.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Montana Legislators are sending a letter to their U.S. congressional delegation urging for changes in federal aviation laws. Montana’s Economic Affairs Interim Committee voted today to send a letter asking Senators Tester and Daines and Congressman Zinke to revise the federal Airline Deregulation Act in order to protect patients from crippling air ambulance bills.

Two bills designed to help protect Montanans from unexpected and exorbitant air ambulance bills get their first hearings at the state legislature Tuesday.
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Air ambulance and health insurance companies took turns blaming each other Thursday for costly but lifesaving air ambulance flights in Montana. The accusations flew during a legislative committee hearing.

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Audio Pending...

Growing demand for healthcare means that Montana is going to need 40 percent more healthcare workers in a decade than it has now. That’s according to University of Montana Economist Bryce Ward. He says that just to meet the projected growth in demand, the state will need 7,000 more healthcare workers by 2025.

Monica Lindeen.
Courtesy Monica Lindeen

The deadline for buying 2016 health insurance through healthcare.gov is days away. And Montana’s Commissioner of Insurance warns that consumers should study up on the plan they’re thinking about buying, because the wrong plan could result in a fine.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) announced Tuesday that an email data breach this summer may have exposed the personal and private healthcare information of nearly 130,000 of its patients.
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New West Health Services is sending out notices to 25,000 customers after a data breach that potentially exposed the personal information of current and former New West customers.

White House Extends Deadline To Buy Health Coverage

Dec 15, 2015

Today* is the deadline to buy health insurance on HealthCare.gov for coverage that starts on January 1. The White House has targeted 20 places around the country with high uninsured rates, offering the one that improves the most a visit from President Obama. Great Falls is in the competition. Earlier today I spoke with White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett about today’s deadline to sign up for health coverage.

Montana Senators Split On Obamacare Repeal Vote

Dec 4, 2015
U.S. Capitol
flickr user Tim Evanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

Montana’s senators split on yesterday’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the first time the Senate has voted to repeal the law since it passed five years ago. The House has voted to repeal it dozens of times, and is expected to confirm the Senate vote soon. The bill faces certain veto by President Obama, a veto Republicans don’t have the votes to override.

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