Guest Column

Holiday Deals Include Health Insurance

Due to a new federal law, health care coverage on the Marketplace is more affordable than ever

By Olivia Riutta

Who doesn’t love a deal? Especially at this time of year, we all like to find the best price on groceries and holiday gifts. And we all have a friend who will stand in line in the dark and cold for a Black Friday sale.

This year, the deals don’t stop there. Due to a new federal law, health care coverage on the Marketplace is more affordable than ever. Now, four out of five Montanans can get health insurance for $10 a month! For the cost of lunch, you can get the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are covered. So even if you are one of the nearly 50,000 Montanans who already get their health insurance from the Montana Marketplace, now is the time to shop around and see if there is a better plan for you in 2022. 

Wait, it gets even better. The coverage isn’t just affordable. All Marketplace plans are comprehensive and cover doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, emergencies, hospitalization, and more, and they all include no-cost preventive services like annual exams, cancer screenings, and flu shots. That is welcome news for those of us who have been putting off seeing a doctor or getting our routine care during the past two years. 

While supply chain issues are complicating some of our holiday shopping, it won’t affect your chance to get health care. With one application, you can find out if you are eligible for Montana Medicaid, Healthy Montana Kids, or a Health Insurance Marketplace plan. And you don’t have to be an expert, because free, local help is available. Certified Application Counselors and Navigator are ready to help answer questions and walk you through the application process. You can find local help at www.covermt.org, or you can apply over the phone through the Cover Montana Help: 1-877-568-6284. 

But just like a sale, it won’t last for long. Open enrollment is your annual opportunity to shop for health insurance coverage, and it ends on Jan. 15. But if you need coverage on Jan.1, you must enroll by Dec. 15. After that, most folks will have to wait until next year. 

Holiday shopping should be more than looking for gifts for others. We have thought so much about health and doctors in the past two years, so why not give yourself a little peace of mind. Take the time to do a little shopping for yourself and find affordable health coverage for you and your family. It’s a gift that lasts all year. 

You can learn more, see what you qualify for, and find local assistance at www.CoverMT.org.

Olivia Riutta is the Director of Population Health at the Montana Primary Care Association and leads Cover Montana, a statewide program to get Montanans enrolled in insurance coverage. 

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