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Supporting Medicaid Access for Montana’s American Indian People

American Indian Health, Health News

Montana’s Medicaid expansion offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve the availability of a full spectrum of healthcare services for Montana’s American Indian people. The Indian Health Service (IHS) is funded at a lower per-capita rate than any other public insurance program, and has been estimated to cover only 60 percent of the actual need. For urban Indians, the situation can be even more difficult, as IHS services are not available.

Montana Healthcare Foundation collaborated with Montana’s tribal leaders, tribal health directors, urban Indian health center directors, and the Montana Budget and Policy Center to draft a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in support of Montana’s Medicaid expansion. Since CMS approved the waivers needed for Montana to expand Medicaid we are continuing to work to ensure that tribes benefit fully by:

  • Funding the Montana Budget and Policy Center and Montana Women Vote to develop materials and conduct outreach across the state to help tribes and other Montanans understand how to enroll and how to use the new health insurance wisely.
  • Organizing an initial call, between tribal health directors and the two organizations that have “navigator grants” from MHCF to help Montanans enroll, in order to help ensure strong and well-coordinated outreach to tribes.
  • Working with a tribal non-profit to develop a grant-funded effort to strengthen Medicaid outreach to Indian country.