Health insurance is a subject that has dominated headlines for years. From the rising costs of health insurance to the never-ending problems encountered by users of the exchange, health insurance has been a big issue since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
If you are a Montana resident, you are now required by law to have health insurance, unless you want to pay a tax penalty. On the up side, however, many health insurance plans have a subsidy, there is no preexisting condition clause, and children can be covered at minimal cost (or free). So if you haven't enrolled in a healthcare program, now is the perfect time to do so.
Health Insurance in Montana: The Facts
- The state decided to use a federal exchange instead of a state-mandated one.
- As of January 2014, your health insurance plan must cover preexisting conditions.
- Even if your employer offers a group health insurance plan, it may be less expensive for you to purchase coverage through an insurance agent.
- In order for your health insurance to satisfy the ACA requirements, it must pass a value test. This test requires that the plan would pay for at least 60% of medical expenses on average for a standard population.
- 78% of Montana residents currently carry health insurance.
What Is Health Insurance?
Health insurance is a set of policies offered to individuals and families in order to provide coverage for some of the most common health incidents. There are many choices, and it may be confusing. Below are the most comon types of health insurance policies:
- HMO, or Health Maintenance Organization: HMOs typically offer you a choice of primary care physicians within different networks. Once you choose your primary care physician, your plan will require you to get a referral to see any other practitioners. HMO plans are usually quite affordable.
- PPO, or Preferred Provider Organization: PPOs allow you to choose from a much larger network of primary physicians, and any other practitioners you'd like to see are available to you as well, without a referral. These plans are typically more expensive than HMOs.
- POS, or Point of Service Plan: These plans combine the best of PPOs and HMOs. They let you choose an in-network doctor to make referrals, but you are also able to see specialists on your own. Specialists, however, will typically require an out-of-pocket cost.
- Catastrophic: These plans require you to pay a high deductible. While the coverage is affordable, it is mostly for those who don't require routine care.
- Indemnity: This type of insurance requires you to pay for your coverage, and then submit a reimbursement form in order to get repaid. This repayment may be up to 80 percent.
How Much Is a Health Insurance Plan in Montana?
Health insurance costs vary greatly depending on your location and plan choices. When you are shopping for health insurance online or in person, make sure to be familiar with the following:
- Ages and personal information of all family members
- Medical history of family members
- Any known preexisting conditions
- Any prior coverage
- Any alcohol/tobacco/drug use
- Preferred coverage types
- If a prescription plan is needed
- If your family would like dental/vision coverage
- Preferred deductible
- Your income
All of these factors, plus many more, will be used to get you and your family a quote for health insurance.
How Do I Purchase Health Insurance in Montana?
When you've made the decision to find coverage for you and your family in MT, there are purchasing options to consider. Below are the three most popular ways to purchase health insurance:
- Option 1: You may opt to purchase your health insurance plan through your employer, credit union or religious organization. Typically,there will be an open enrollment period when health plans are purchased. You usually get a discount by purchasing in a groups, however, you should still shop around with insurance agents to make sure that you are getting the best coverage at the right price.
- Option 2: You may purchase a plan on the federal marketplace. While the original launch of the site proved to be confusing, it is a much simpler system to use now, with millions finding coverage easily.
- Option 3: Going through an insurance agent may be a wise option. Insurance agents can typically browse rates from different insurance companies so that you can get the best price available.
How Do I Save Money on Health Insurance?
While traditional discounts aren't usually available on health insurance, there are things you can do to lower your rates. Here are a few ways to lower your healthcare costs in Montana:
- Join a gym or enroll in a fitness program.
- Quit smoking.
- Raise your deductible/co-pays.
- Always use in-network providers.
Getting Health Insurance in Montana Is Simple
It's easier than ever to obtain and afford health insurance in MT. A Trusted Choice® agent is always available to help you find plans, discuss price options, or get the most out of your plan. Trusted Choice agents are committed to getting you the best policy for not only your family, but for your financial health as well.