Montana to explore program that could lower some health insurance rates

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By: Holly Michels

The state is exploring whether a Montana-run reinsurance program would help lower the premiums people pay when buying their health insurance on the federal marketplace, in some cases by 10-20 percent.

Insurance companies buy reinsurance to offset risks from covering people with high-cost and sometimes pre-existing conditions, essentially protecting the companies from high claims for that group of people…

Twice in 2017, the state Legislature passed bills that would have put Montana down the path of exploring a reinsurance program. But both bills were vetoed by Bullock…

The auditor’s office, which supported the vetoed legislation, on Wednesday said it was happy the state is examining reinsurance but questioned why previous bills were shot down.

Spokesman Kyle Schmauch said state Auditor Matt Rosendale has tried to push a reinsurance program since taking office and the state is now behind the ball.

“It is unfortunate that two state auditor bills to do just that were vetoed last year and Montana is now further behind than we should be, but we are optimistic that we can create a good system going forward,” Schmauch said. He added that Rosendale will continue to pursue options and work with the Legislature and governor’s office. “Several other states have already created successful reinsurance programs and it’s past time for Montana to do the same.”

Schmauch said the auditor’s office, which has a representative on the working group, has been preparing to administer a reinsurance program.

Read more at the Montana Standard