This month marks a decade of the Montana health insurance market and Healthcare.gov. Before the Affordable Care Act, one in five Montana residents were uninsured and lived with uncertainty and lack of access to health care. So, on this 10th anniversary of the Marketplace, we are celebrating ten milestones of the past decade!
10: Remember when Healthcare.gov crushed? Don’t worry, it works now!
We at Cover Montana have been around since the beginning and we remember that first open registration period when the website crashed. The website has come a long way, and we’re happy to report that it’s working well! With just one app, you can enroll in a Marketplace, Healthy Montana Kids, or Montana Medicaid plan.
9: Say goodbye to pre-existing condition exclusions
The ACA eliminated pre-existing condition exclusions — a boon for Montanans with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or being a cancer survivor. And to make it even better, these protections also extend to non-Marketplace plans.
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Since Montana expanded Medicaid in 2016, Medicaid has been an affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage option for 100,000 Montana residents. During the pandemic, Medicaid did its job and made sure the thousands of people who lost their jobs and faced reduced hours had access to care.
7: Free preventive services
With the ACA came preventative service at no charge. Now insurance will pay full price for certain screenings and preventative measures such as annual exams for women, vaccinations and screenings for things like colorectal cancer.
6: The number of listings on the market exceeds 51,000 in 2022
Jan. 15 closed the last open enrollment period, and Montana had more than 51,000 registered for coverage. This is a 14% increase over last year.
5: Marketplace plans are more affordable than ever (really)!
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the big COVID legislation of 2021, made market plans even more affordable and lifted the cap on who can get tax credits. Annual savings are over $800 per person enrolled in a Marketplace plan.
4: New special enrollment period for people below 150% poverty
This new special enrollment period allows people to enroll outside of the annual open enrollment period if they are at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. Now, a single person earning $19,320 a year or a family of three earning $32,940 can still be covered.
3: Special Provisions for Registered Tribal Members
The ACA included several special conditions for enrolled members of a federally recognized tribal nation. First, registered members can be covered throughout the year, not just during open registration. No-fee and limited-fee plans are also available, making access to care much more affordable.
2: Plans cover essential health benefits
All Marketplace plans, and most non-Marketplace plans, must cover the 10 essential health benefits. These include everything from emergency services, maternity cover, prescription drugs, mental health, and more.
1: Uninsured rate halved
Before the ACA, one in five Montananese did not have health insurance. Now that rate is one in 10.
Montana has much to be proud of, whether it’s big wins like cutting the uninsured rate in half or helping more than 5,500 people on Medicaid get hospital treatment for an alcohol-related disorder. substance use. But there is a lot of work to do. In Montana, 6.2% of children are still uninsured and we will continue to work in communities across the state to ensure that all of our neighbors have the information and support they need to be covered. It’s been an incredible decade, and Cover Montana has been a proud partner.
Olivia Riutta, is director of population health at the Montana Primary Care Association and leads Cover Montana, a statewide program to enroll Montanans in insurance coverage.