Transforming the Health Care Landscape

Over the next decade, the Affordable Care Act will transform the health care landscape. To better understand how the ACA will impact Montana’s health insurance markets, BBER has conducted an intensive survey of Montana households and businesses. This sample data, along with national and regional studies, is used to model the potential impacts of the ACA on Montana’s health insurance markets.

For Montana’s 195,000 uninsured, the ACA will allow many to qualify for health insurance either through the possible expansion of the Medicaid program or for advanceable premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available in the Federally Facilitated Exchange. Beginning in 2014, all Montanans, uninsured and insured, will have access to apples-to-apples comparisons of qualified health plans via the FFE consumer portal, which will make health insurance comparisons more transparent across price and quality. The Federally Facilitated Exchange will guide qualified consumers and small employers in their purchase of health insurance plans.

For the vast majority of Montana’s uninsured, health insurance is simply too expensive. Only 16,000 (8 percent) of the uninsured in Montana do not have health insurance by choice. The remaining 179,000 uninsured and many of Montana’s small employers will use the Exchange as a shopping mall for affordable health insurance.

As Montana’s leaders look to take charge of coming changes in health care, BBER is helping to ensure that they go forward armed with the best data possible to make decisions.

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