MTPR

Todd Lovshin

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.

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.

Pacific Source Health
Pacific Source Health website

Insurance companies in Montana last week filed their proposed prices for 2018. They send them to the state insurance commissioner for review and generally don't reveal what they plan to charge until after the commissioner has had a chance to look at their proposals. Setting prices is particularly challenging when Congress is at work on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

Two bills designed to help protect Montanans from unexpected and exorbitant air ambulance bills get their first hearings at the state legislature Tuesday.
(PD)

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.