30K more Montanans insured after Affordable Care Act enrollment

2014-07-15T18:15:00Z 2014-10-10T20:25:39Z 30K more Montanans insured after Affordable Care Act enrollmentBy MIKE DENNISON Missoulian State Bureau missoulian.com

HELENA – Since the launch of the federal government’s online health insurance “marketplace” in Montana last October, a net 30,000 Montanans have gained new health coverage, the state auditor’s office said Tuesday.

Jesse Laslovich, chief legal counsel for Auditor Monica Lindeen, told a legislative panel that the changes have reduced the rate of Montanans without health insurance from nearly 20 percent to 16.9 percent.

However, Laslovich said the numbers are estimates culled from a survey of the state’s four largest insurers selling polices in the individual market, and that the office won’t know the “definitive numbers” until health insurers file annual reports next March.

Some of those people who gained coverage also didn’t buy health insurance, but rather signed up for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, which are state-federal programs that pay medical bills for the poor.

Under the federal health care overhaul known as the Affordable Care Act, the government launched its online marketplace in Montana last Oct. 1, with three companies offering health insurance policies to individuals.

People earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $46,700 for a single person, could be eligible for subsidies on a policy bought through the marketplace.

The marketplace initially had major technical problems and didn’t really work until December, and consumers had until March 31 to buy a policy through the marketplace. The earliest policies took effect Jan. 1.

Laslovich explained that the auditor’s office, which regulates the insurance industry in Montana, looked at Montanans who gained – or lost – health coverage in the first four months this year, in the wake of the marketplace launch.

Here’s the breakdown on who gained and lost coverage, according to Lindeen’s office:

• As of April 30, about 26,400 additional people had individual health insurance policies. It’s estimated that about 40 percent of the people with coverage bought their policy through the online marketplace.

• About 8,700 people gained coverage through Medicaid and CHIP.

• About 10,300 fewer people were covered by small-group policies, but at least half of those went to self-funded business plans, Laslovich said, so the estimated net reduction is about 5,150.

• When the 5,150 is subtracted from the total increases in Medicaid, CHIP and the individual market, the net increase in covered “lives” or people is 30,000, he said.

Laslovich also said a fourth health insurer, a subsidiary of Assurant Health/Time Insurance, has said it will be offering products on the marketplace later this year. The companies offering policies already are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, PacificSource and the Montana Health Co-op.

Missoulian State Bureau reporter Mike Dennison can be reached at 1-800-525-4920 or by email at mike.dennison@lee.net.

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(9) Comments

  1. wes d
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    wes d - July 16, 2014 9:26 pm
    My reply wasn't supposed to be for you Miner, but for Fax. Miner, I could argue all of your above arguments but that will get us nowhere, we obviously have our own list of "facts". Good luck out there!
  2. miner
    Report Abuse
    miner - July 16, 2014 12:55 pm
    Can you do anything but regurgitate the Democratic Party mantras? I made no mention of Obama-you imagined it.
    As for your tired, untrue claim about emergency rooms...WRONG. Yes, some people do go to the emergency room every time they have a cold. They will go more frequently now they have insurance and do not have to worry about paying. Of course, we are still paying for them anyway, as the vast majority of sign-ups are getting big subsidies and Medicaid (so no, they are not PAYING). Illegals are still flooding the ERs in the southern states, and they don't have Obamacare. What about the people who lost their insurance? Now they are the ones who have to go without care. Here's another inconvenient fact...many enrollees had insurance previously...
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/05/10/new-mckinsey-survey-74-of-obamacare-sign-ups-were-previously-insured/
    ...so we are not really extensively decreasing the ranks of the uninsured. Also, let's not equate health insurance with health care; this policy iis a giveaway to Obama's buddies and the insurance companies, but mostly another power grab.
    You forgot to mention all of the people that never or almost never use doctors; instead you assume, as per the Democratic Party line, that every one of them goes to the ER twice weekly. What about people that had HSAs that have vanished, or high-deductible insurance policies that are no longer available? Are the people that exercise and don't abuse themselves rewarded for their choices, and are fatties and the unhealthy penalized (no).
    But your most egregious error is thinking it's a good thing that we are forced to do business with a private company because the gov't. says so. Obama has perverted the very notion of a "free country", because we are now taxed just for being alive. The foundation of our country - liberty - is no longer. If you believe that this is a good thing, then it is for you that I feel sad.
  3. Leadfoot
    Report Abuse
    Leadfoot - July 16, 2014 12:50 pm
    "More" people being insured is not always a good thing. We, who actually work, still pay for those who do not, one way or another. Don't fall for Dennison's smoking mirrors numbers double talk. He is simply a Left Wing mouth piece. The largest 2 groups of those insured over the last 4 months of Obama's Insurance Joke were a) those forced to get insurance or be fined & b) those added to entitlement medical coverage Medicaid &/or other federally assisted (& paid for by the residents of Montana) medical coverage programs. The largest is still b): those added to entitlement programs paid for by tax payers who actually work & actually pay taxes. Camouflage the numbers any way that you want to spin them, Dennison, and you still come to the same factual conclusion. Obamacare is dead as it was conceived & will be greatly "altered" when sound minds are elected into the U.S. Senate. It's only remaining components will be coverage for only those who cannot work & support themselves. Incentives to not work is never healthy, successful, or long lasting in history. Study the Romans to see where America is headed under Obama. His reign has passed the arrogance phase already. With the elections on the horizon, accountability will be expected. But guess what? Throughout Obama's machine, there is none. This will be his legacy.
  4. AaronJL
    Report Abuse
    AaronJL - July 16, 2014 10:08 am
    Mike Dennison,
    Hey, well you seem to be spouting off some numbers with nothing to back up what your saying, awesome reporting. You need to prove what the hell you are saying. You are trying to tout 30K people, who have possibly ended up with Health insurance from Obama. You have no proof. Then Jesse Laslovich, chief legal counsel for Auditor Monica Lindeen, says they have a 3.1 percent drop in people who are uninsured, really, I would like to see that, post a link to the website that gave you the official numbers. Cause not even the governments website has the numbers yet. But here is some good info to look at your self, if your into that sort of thing.

    http://www.infowars.com/irs-prepared-to-enforce-obamacare-with-fines-and-fees/

    http://www.infowars.com/obamacare-turns-4-just-1-4-of-uninsured-americans-covered/

    http://www.infowars.com/judge-napolitano-on-alex-jones-tv-obamacare-is-unconstitutional/

    Obamacare has a number of problems. The fact that ONLY 30K people are signed up, when hundreds of thousands are without insurance now, because they can't pay their premiums. Or that you can eventually be found criminally reliable for not having healthcare. This article is as bunk as our Dictator in Chief, Mike Dennison find a real job, because you sure as hell don't know what's going on around you, well enough, to be reporting on it.
  5. Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria
    Report Abuse
    Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria - July 16, 2014 8:58 am
    Obama doesn't need help looking bad. He's doing fine at that within his own party. Recently in Colorado, the governor couldn't even make time to be seen with him. They are running from Obama because of this disaster of a law
  6. doc
    Report Abuse
    doc - July 16, 2014 8:40 am
    Putting another 8000+ people on welfare isn't something to brag about.
  7. miner
    Report Abuse
    miner - July 16, 2014 8:36 am
    No, of those 30K people the vast majority, about 80% if MT holds the same at the entire U.S., got another freebie from Medicaid, paid for by the people that actually work. Most are just taking and contributing nothing. 30K people signed up, but how many lost their policies??
  8. wes d
    Report Abuse
    wes d - July 16, 2014 8:30 am
    I don't know why I even try, but here we go. When people don't have insurance they usually wait until they're very ill and have to go to the ER and we the taxpayers end up floating their bill. Also, if they get injured and have to go to the ER with no insurance, same situation. People signing up for the ACA are PAYING for their own insurance. 30k more people are PAYING into the system instead of you paying for the uninsured. I know you HATE Obama and anything associated with him but more people insured is a good thing. However, it doesn't seem like you're capable or willing to accept the facts if it might somehow make Obama look good....and that's just sad.
  9. Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria
    Report Abuse
    Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria - July 16, 2014 5:34 am
    30k people have followed the order after being told they must purchase something ( and that I'll take money from my pocket, unwillingly, to help them) or else they will be fined.
    It's amazing what can be achieved with other peoples money and a tax gun held to the back of someone's head.
    There is no end to the amount of good these 'progressives' think they can do with other peoples money.
    You don't need that money you worked for for your child's college fund, you need to give it to someone who is too lazy to get a real job and pay their own way.
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