MTPR

health insurance

Health insurance companies selling individual policies in Montana say they have to raise their prices next year. But the federal government says it won’t be as bad as the headlines suggest. The Obama administration says most Americans don’t have to worry about possible spikes in premium rates next year.

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.

More than 47,000 Montanans have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program state lawmakers narrowly approved last year. The state health department reported updated numbers to the legislative committee that oversees Medicaid expansion today.

The number of Montanans without health insurance has dropped by half in the last year. That's according to State Auditor Monica Lindeen.

 Governor Steve Bullock projects Montana taxpayers could save about $25 million dollars because of the way it manages medical costs for its state employees.

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. 

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

Montana Lawmakers Look To Rein-In Air Ambulance Bills
Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-SA)

An attempt to regulate air ambulance services supported by Democratic Senator Jon Tester struck out in the U.S. Senate Thursday.

Enrollment in Montana’s expanded Medicaid program is exceeding expectations, and so far has refunded $3 million to the state’s general fund.

That’s according to officials with the state health department who briefed a special expansion oversight committee today.

Governor Bullock & Pam Bucy launching the HELP-Link program Feb. 08, 2015 in Great Falls.
Corin Cates-Carney

On Monday, the next phase of Montana’s Medicaid expansion was announced at a job service center in Great Falls. Expanding Medicaid under the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act was a hard sell to Montana Republicans in the 2015 legislature until Republican Senator Ed Buttrey introduced a workforce initiative into the healthcare bill, among other changes.

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