Affordable Care Act
5:47 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

MT's Obamacare enrollment numbers continue to climb

Hear the radio version of this story from "Montana Evening Edition."

The number of Montanans applying for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act continues to climb. Residents signed up for about 4,000 plans on the state’s online Obamacare marketplace in the month of February. That makes nearly 23,000 plans since the marketplace opened last fall.

The rate of signups sits above the national average, according to Mike Dennison with Lee Newspapers.

Jennifer McKee is the Communications Director for the State Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. She said it’s not clear how many of the nearly 23,000 policies sold are people receiving insurance for the first time. But that number of policies also does not equal how many people are now covered. A policy could cover a whole family, for instance.

"So the whole picture of how well Obamacare is or is not doing in Montana is still being developed at this point," she said.

The Montana Republican Party is still arguing for the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Executive Director Bowen Greenwood said more health insurance plans have been cancelled because of the law than have been created from it. It’s not exactly clear if that’s the case, but it’s arguable. He said it’s from the new requirements placed on insurance plans.

"Those additional services drove up the costs quite a bit, and a lot of folks found that their health insurance plans which they had used for a long time were suddenly discontinued," he said.

The deadline for enrolling in health insurance for much of this year is the end of the month. Those who don’t have health insurance will likely have to pay a tax penalty.