Montana's Medicaid Program Needs More Money Says State Health Department

Feb 8, 2017

As lawmakers continue crafting the state’s budget, officials with Montana’s health department say the state’s Medicaid programs need more funds to keep up with caseloads. 

Marie Matthews, with Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services, says a new estimate of Medicaid spending requires more money to come out of the state’s general fund.

“The original request was $24.1 million in general fund for the biennium, these updated projections are at $29.1 [million] for the biennium," Matthews says.

She says this additional ask of $5 million could be a lot more, if it weren’t for assistance of federal dollars. Matthews says because of the state’s Medicaid expansion under the HELP Act, the federal government helps cover the state’s Medicaid costs.

“If we didn’t have the HELP Act program, the amount we would be requesting from you, for the biennium from the general fund, would $34 million higher,” she says.

The HELP Act, which was narrowly passed last legislative session, is funded in part by the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Matthews and other state health officials will brief lawmakers in more detail on the state’s current Medicaid expansion numbers, Thursday morning.