Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana

Eric Whitney

Last week Montana’s Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen approved big price increases for some health insurance plans in the state – increases from 5 percent to more than 30 percent higher than last year.

To find out who exactly those rate increases do and don’t apply to, and why the rate increases are so big, we talked to Commissioner Lindeen’s General Counsel Christina Goe.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana is paying $1 million to the state to settle more than three hundred consumer complaints.

State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen says the complaints mostly came from people who bought policies on the new health insurance exchange last year. Lindeen says every insurance company had problems with the rollout, but the problems with Blue Cross-Blue Shield were extreme.

Montanans who buy their own health insurance, or who want to, can start buying policies for next year starting on Saturday. It’s the beginning of the Affordable Care Act’s second so-called “open enrollment” period.

The process will be similar to last year, but significantly different, says Adam Schafer, at the Montana insurance commissioner’s office.

"Folks should not experience the same problems that came up last year," he says.

Daines gets an earful from Obamacare skeptics

Jan 6, 2014
Dan Boyce

Montana Congressman Steve Daines held a roundtable discussion Monday to discuss negative impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“My objective here today is to learn and listen,” Daines told the group gathered at the Montana Chamber of Commerce Building in Helena.

Daines heard from small business owners who complained of higher insurance rates stemming from mandated changes to policies. Another woman said her planned kidney transplant was put on hold as she navigated from her old insurance plan to a new one as a result of the law.

Attorney General Tim Fox’s office said Tuesday a group of candidates have been nominated for the board of a new healthcare foundation created following the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana to an out-of-state company.

Dan Boyce

Montana Insurance companies are looking over their options after President Obama’s Thursday announcement regarding the Affordable Care Act. The President said some insurance plans about to be cancelled for not following the new healthcare law will be allowed to continue for one more year.

Montana’s Insurance commissioner said the announcement throws years of planning for ObamaCare into a tailspin.

Monica Lindeen
Courtesy Monica Lindeen

  The state’s insurance commissioner says Montanans are still having problems signing up for health insurance on the Affordable Care Act online marketplace. Most states, including Montana, opted to let the Federal Government run their Obamacare market. The federal site has been plagued with glitches and technical problems for three weeks now, and it is not clear when they will all be fixed.

Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen said Wednesday that is not acceptable.

 The country has just a few more months before many of the major elements of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, go into effect. This includes a requirement for Americans to buy health insurance, starting the first of the year.

An online marketplace will be giving Montanans without insurance options to buy plans from one of three providers. In this Feature Interview, Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce speaks with Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen about choices people will have regarding the marketplace.

The Montana Attorney General’s Office deposited a new $40 million check this week—money from the sale of Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Montana to an out of state company.

Another $100 million or more may eventually be on the way as Blue Cross sells off its assets.