MTPR

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana

Montana health insurance market breakdown.
Courtesy Montana Commissioner of Securities Insurance

State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen says the health insurance premiums one company is charging in Montana next year are, “unreasonable,” and that those proposed by two other companies were too low and needed to be adjusted upward.

Billings Clinic launched a pilot project to help rural primary care providers deliver mental or behavioral health care to their patients.

“Montana is at the epicenter of a mental health crisis,” says Dr. Eric Arzubi, chair of the Psychiatry Department at Billings Clinic.

He says there aren’t enough psychiatrists, so it falls upon primary care providers in rural areas to help their patients who are struggling with mental and behavioral health issues.

Governor Steve Bullock announcing a new healthcare reform initiative in Missoula Monday at Western Montana Clinic.
Eric Whitney

Montana has been invited to participate in a new phase of health care reform that some big players in the healthcare industry here say should save significant money. Governor Bullock made the announcement at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula Monday morning.

Commissioner of Securities & Insurance Monica Lindeen.
Eric Whitney

If you want to know why health insurance companies in Montana are asking for big price increases on some of the policies they sell here next year, there are some easy answers – but they only tell part of the story.

The three health insurance companies that sell individual policies in Montana say they need to increase their prices significantly next year. They're asking Montana's Health Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen to approve average premium increases for individual health plans that range from 20 to 62 percent. In the small group market, the insurers are proposing premium increases of three percent to 32 percent. 

Insurers, Air Ambulances Would Consider Rate Negotiation

May 25, 2016
Air ambulance bills often have a price tag in the five figure range. Patients' shock over the cost of emergency medical transport has recently turned into complaints filed to the auditor’s office.
(PD)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana health insurance providers and representatives of air ambulance companies said Wednesday they would at least consider negotiations and possibly binding arbitration as a way to set acceptable rates and prevent air ambulance patients from being shocked by their bills.

BlueCross BlueShield of Montana has refunded over $1 million to thousands of Montana university students.

Mary Lynne Billy-Old Coyote is the new director of Montana's Office of American Indian Health.
Courtesy Montana DPHHS

A Chippewa Cree woman was named leader of Montana’s new Office of American Indian Health today. Gov. Steve Bullock named Mary Lynne Billy-Old Coyote to head the office. She’s currently interim director of the Rocky Boy Health Board, and has 20 years of experience working in Native American health. She has also worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and New West Medicare Health Services.

After an initial rush, the rate of people signing up for the state's Medicaid expansion program has slowed as health care officials prepare for next month's rollout.

Steve Jess

Monday, Montana officially became the 30th state in the nation to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare. The announcement at the state capitol was part news conference, and part pep rally, as Governor Steve Bullock thanked a crowd of supporters for everything they had to endure, including months of legislative maneuvering.

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