This post is by Jed Lewison from Daily Kos
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The Obama administration has given final approval to Montana’s Medicaid expansion waiver, clearing the state to move ahead and expand coverage to as many as 70,000 Montanans. The plan includes a requirement that beneficiaries pay premiums that amount to 2 percent of their income, and that provision required federal government sign-off.
Gov. Steve Bullock announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ approval of the federal waiver needed for state officials to start enrollment this fall and begin coverage on Jan. 1. […]
Bullock’s original expansion plan stalled in this year’s legislative session and was replaced by a compromise bill sponsored by Sen. Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls.
Lawmakers passed that measure, but the state needed a waiver by the federal government because of the changes, such as charging premiums and outsourcing the program’s administration to a third party.
The plan also requires that patients make the
copayments allowed under federal law, though copayments and premium payments combined can’t exceed 5 percent of a family’s household income.
The state has arranged for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana to be the third-party administrator of the program, arguing that it would be more cost-effective with the systems the company has in place. So as of the beginning of next year, this map of the uninsured will be slightly less depressing.