The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delivered some good news to over 90,000 Montanans recently about the state’s Medicaid expansion program.

Medicaid and Health Services Branch Manager for the Montana DPHHS, Marie Matthews has details.

“This week we have received approval from the Center for Medicaid Services for a year's extension on Montana's Medicaid expansion waiver,” said Matthews. “So that provides health care coverage for over 90,000 Montanans and we're pretty excited to receive this extra year while CMS continues to evaluate whether they will approve our five year waiver proposal.”

Matthews said the Medicaid program is now more important than ever.

“The most important thing to the average Montanan is that Medicaid is there when they need it,” she said. “We are in the middle of a public health emergency, and we don't know when this program might be for us, for our loved ones and or our neighbors. It's a very important part of our health care infrastructure, and all Montanans can feel better knowing that this program is available for them, or their loved ones should they need it.”

Matthews provided some details of the program itself.

“This program is available for Montanans who are between zero and 138% of the federal poverty level,” she said. “At an individual or a family level, the members may pay a premium to participate in the program. The premium is never more than 2% of their individual income, and there are no co pays, so it's a very, very affordable health care program, and it provides a good solid set of benefits for both physical and behavioral health.”

Matthews provided some of the financial benefits that Medicaid expansion has brought to the state.

“Montana's Medicaid program is a partnership with a jobs program at the Department of Labor, and this unique Montana combination has really provided a program that works for our state,” she said. “Every year Medicaid expansion adds over $600 million to the economy. It fueled a total of over 9,715 annual job years, $793 million in associated wages and $30 million in new tax revenue.”

Additionally, Medicaid expansion is expected to generate $1.6 billion in personal income and $2.1 billion in economic output or new sales during its first five years.


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