FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 30, 2015
Dave Parker, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9844
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Healthy Montana Plan to Save Montana Taxpayers $59 Million in First Biennium
Helena, Mont. – Governor Steve Bullock’s Healthy Montana Plan will save taxpayers $59 million in its first two years according to the bill’s fiscal note, which was released this week. The savings include reduced need for state services that many uninsured Montanans currently take advantage of.
“The Healthy Montana Plan is not only good for the health of 70,000 currently uninsured Montanans, it will also save our state money,” Bullock said. “By bringing Montana taxpayer dollars back home we’ll extend coverage to those who need it most, reduce the crushing cost of uncompensated care that is endangering rural hospitals and increasing health insurance costs for the rest of us.”
Governor Bullock’s Healthy Montana Plan, which is modeled after the successful Healthy Montana Kids Program, will accept federal funds and competitively contract with an insurer to provide healthcare through a private provider network at negotiated rates, while implementing additional reforms to improve health care delivery and protect against fraud and abuse.
Montanans making 138 percent or less of the federal poverty level, approximately $16,000 per year for an individual, would qualify to receive health care coverage under the Healthy Montana Plan. Federal funding would be available to pay 100 percent of the cost of the plan for the first three years, after that the state’s share will gradually increase to a maximum of 10 percent. The plan contains a trigger that ensures that Montana will never be responsible for more than 10 percent of the costs.
Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid coverage, including Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio and New Jersey. In addition, many other conservative states, such as Utah, Wyoming, and Tennessee are considering expansion.
In 2013, a majority of legislators in both the Montana House and Senate supported Medicaid expansion; however, through the use of procedural tactics by a minority, the proposal was killed.
The fiscal note for the bill is available HERE.