MISSOULA – A record number of Montanans are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid expansion program, which provides health insurance for low-income adults, according to the state health department.
Nearly 99,000 people were being served by the program in April, which is 18,300 more than the nearly 80,500 enrolled a year earlier, according to state data.
The state stopped disenrolling people from Medicaid programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the higher enrollment numbers, Chuck Council, a spokesperson for the Department of Public health and Human Services, told Montana Public Radio.
The department will resume taking people off the programs if they’re no longer eligible once Montana’s public health emergency ends, Council said.
Republican Rep. Ed Buttrey of Great Falls, who co-sponsored the Medicaid expansion legislation, said the program is working like it should.
“When we get into hard times, people get into hard times, this is a safety net measure to make sure that folks are not neglecting their health care and that providers are getting paid for the services they provide,” Buttrey said.
The previous enrollment high was 96,656 people in August 2018.
Medicaid expansion in Montana is funded with 89% federal money and 11% state money. Montana’s Medicaid expansion program requires participants to pay premiums.
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