Montana Health Co-Op

The new Montana health insurance company that opened last year is expanding into Idaho this year, and will start selling coverage there on Saturday.

"We became operational in Idaho because there was a need for greater competition in the state of Idaho," said Karen Early, director of marketing for MHC, the company that operates as Montana Health Co-op on this side of the Bitterroots, and as Mountain Health Co-op in Idaho.

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.

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.

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.

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.