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Health insurance rate increases in Montana average at about 50%, leading to hikes in premiums. However, there are some good news though, such as the potential positive impact of the decrease in its uninsured rating as well as a slow, but gradual improvement in its health ratings. Use this guide to better prepare yourself for the changes you’ll see in your coverage this year.

Contents

How healthy are people in MT?

Not a lot of people are aware that their premiums are also based on the overall health performance of the state they reside in. Location-based health ratings are also used by carriers to determine the risk level of individuals. This said, Montana can really benefit from more improvements in health care, as what its overall ranking of 28th (of 51) in the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s State Health System Performance indicate. It did perform exceptionally under the “Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs” indicator though, receiving a quintile score of 1. These are some of the key findings of the study under the “Healthy Lives” category:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 70 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 19.9 out of 100,000 women

  • Colorectal cancer fatalities: 12.4 out of 100,000 individuals

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 19%

  • Adult obesity: 26%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 29%

The organization further provided the following statistics:

  • 19% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 9% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 12% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it (the same with the US average)

  • 19% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills, 2% higher than the national average of 16%

The levels of coverage you can get

For 2017, insurance providers offer four different metal tiers, the bronze tier being the basic plan. The more “valuable” the metal plan you obtain, the greater portion of medical and hospital bills you will get reimbursement for. The numbers below refer to the portion of health care costs your insurer will shoulder:

Bronze – 60%

Silver – 70%

Gold – 80%

Platinum – 90%

Bronze
Silver
Gold
Platinum

How high your rates will go up to depends on the carrier. However, they average at around 31 to 55.3 percent.

Considering these, the United States Department of Health & Human Services came up with the following 2017 premium average projections for the Big Sky Country’s insurance plan owners:

  • Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $515

  • Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $112

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $381

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $142

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,378

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $405

Uninsured rating in the state: How it looks

While you can’t escape the higher health coverage rates, you should still thank the considerable reduction in the state’s uninsured rating. Thanks to the drop in the number of people without insurance here, you face increases lower than those initially proposed.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services , in a recent study, revealed that 58,000 of MT’s residents, with an estimated population of 1,032,949 (2015, latest data1), became insured from 2010 to 2015. This jump accounts for a 5.7% reduction in the overall population of people who went without insurance for these five years, from 2010’s 17.3% to 11.6%.

A last note regarding enrolment

The open enrolment ended in January 2017, but you can still obtain insurance through special enrolment or through a private insurer. Make sure you ask around as soon as possible, so that you can compare offers and that you don’t have to go too long without coverage.

References:

https://www.healthinsurance.org/montana/

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/28/montana/

https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/212721/2017MarketplaceLandscapeBrief.pdf

https://aspe.hhs.gov/compilation-state-data-affordable-care-act

1Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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