This story is an excerpt from MT Lowdownweekly digest newsletter containing original reporting and analysis published every Friday.
The enrollment period, which allows Americans to buy health insurance coverage for next year through the federal health insurance marketplace, is open now through January 15.
Roughly 50,000 Montanans are covered in the marketplace, according to the health care advocacy group Cover Montana, an increase of about 41,500 in 2020. Roughly 85 percent of those insurance holders qualified for reduced rates because of their income and size of the household.
If you’re among Montanans facing health insurance instability as the state reduces Medicaid enrollment, the enrollment period may be an opportunity for you to find an affordable plan. More than 92,000 people were removed from the state’s Medicaid rolls between April and August due to the ongoing mass eligibility review taking place across the state. Nearly 64 percent of those movers in Montana lost coverage because they failed to return the requested documents by state health department deadlines.
Medicaid ‘unwinding’ wreaks havoc in states
Seven months after what was predicted to be the biggest shakeup in the 58-year history of the government’s health insurance program for low-income and disabled people, states have reviewed eligibility for more than 28 million people and ended coverage for more than 10 million of them. Millions more are expected to lose Medicaid in the coming months.
If you want to consider signing up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, here’s where to start:
- Gather the materials you’ll need to complete the necessary paperwork (household information, your dependents’ Social Security numbers, wage and salary amounts, etc.).
- Create an account in the market system.
- Explore plans for 2024. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for federal subsidies that can lower your monthly premium and qualify you for lower deductibles and copayments.
- Decide which plan works best for you and sign up.
If you’re still learning about health insurance or want a refresher, Cover Montana has a good summary of the basic information you need to know. To get an idea of what subsidies you may be eligible for, check out this cost calculator from KFF, the health policy and research group. And if you want to find help with your application in your area, you can search for nearby navigators on the Cover Montana website.
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