Montana’s Solution

csimt In The News

By: Full Measure

We begin with the cost of health care. High—and still rising. The cost of medical and drug benefits is expected to rise 5% in 2019. The 6th year in a row with a 5% increase. Premiums and out-of-pocket costs for employees and dependents will average $14,800. Congress has struggled for years to fight the escalating costs— with little success. But what if the answer lies in a place they haven’t bothered to look? What if it’s right there out in the open in Big Sky country? Today’s cover story takes us to Montana where their solution came from a senior citizen with a knack for numbers. Those who took her on quickly learned they’d grabbed a tiger by the tail.

Our story begins a few years back about two thousand miles from Washington DC in Helena, Montana – Where Marilyn Bartlett was assigned to tackle the seemingly impossible.

Sharyl: People have told you it couldn’t be done?

Bartlett: Absolutely. People told me it could not be done.

It was 2015, and Bartlett had just been hired as Montana’s new healthcare and benefits, or insurance administrator. Montana’s 30,000 state employees and their families were in deep trouble: their health insurance plan was going broke. Fixing it would be like moving a mountain. But Montana passed a law saying it had to be done. So Bartlett had about a year to do what nobody else had ever done and what Congress hasn’t been able to do on a national scale: drastically slash healthcare costs.

Watch the story below or read more from Full Measure here.