Montana Public Radio

Obamacare

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.

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The final tally for the number of Montanans who signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act by last Friday’s deadline are in, and they’re more than 90 percent of what they were last year.

"We’re happy with the numbers," says Olivia Riutta with the Montana Primary Care Association.

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.

The deadline for getting a health plan under the Affordable Care Act is fast approaching.

Open enrollment under the health care law passed by the Obama administration started November 1.

According to the Montana Primary Care Association’s Olivia Riutta, there’s a strong local demand for enrollment assistance. 

Sen. Jon Tester.
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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. 

Former Montana Senator Max Baucus' job as U.S. ambassador to China ended in January. He now divides his time between Missoula, Bozeman, and global public speaking engagements.

Baucus this week stopped by Montana Public Radio Studios to talk about China, The Affordable Care Act, and tax reform.

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.

Trump Administration To End Obamacare Subsidies For The Poor

Oct 12, 2017

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The Trump administration said Thursday that it would end the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction payments designed to help low-income Americans get health care. Not paying the subsidies, health care experts have warned, could send the health insurance exchanges into turmoil.

Montana's Health Co-op Remains Standing As Others Falter

Aug 14, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's health care co-op, one of America's few remaining alternatives to traditional health insurance, will resume accepting new enrollees Sunday after it voluntarily pulled itself from the state's insurance marketplace in December.

The insurer took the nine-month hiatus from enrolling new members in the exchange created by President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act to boost its financial reserves and keep it from the same fate that has befallen failed co-ops across the country.

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