Options for Montanans looking for coverage amid coronavirus outbreak

Saturday, March 21, 2020

In light of ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, State Auditor Matt Rosendale is reminding uninsured and underinsured Montanans of additional options for health coverage outside of the normal open enrollment period for 2020 Affordable Care Act health insurance plans.

“Montanans who are looking for healthcare coverage during this time should know that they have additional options that are available year-round.” Rosendale said. “Alway shop around, ask your insurance agent questions about coverage and be aware of the fine print.”

Open enrollment for individuals who buy their health insurance federally through HealthCare.gov was open from November 1, 2019 to December 15, 2019, and is currently closed. Montana insurers on Healthcare.gov have previously announced that they will waive deductibles, copays, coinsurance and prior authorization requirements for COVID-19 testing services.

The Commissioner is working closely with CMS and the Montana COVID-19 Task Force, monitoring all possible developments that may happen at the federal level. If an open enrollment period is ordered, CSI will provide further updates as soon as details are available.

Below is a summary of additional options Montanans seeking coverage during this time may consider:

Direct primary care (DPC) memberships

DPC Memberships provide a high-quality, affordable alternative for many people seeking routine testing or basic health care treatment.

DPC memberships are arrangements for care between patients and their doctors, they are not insurance products. Memberships are open to anyone seeking care and most can be applied for online, at any time. There are at least eight DPC clinics operating in Montana.

Short-term limited-duration (STLD) health insurance

Short-Term Health Insurance may also be an option for Montanans seeking health coverage. STLD plans are a type of insurance meant primarily for those looking for temporary coverage and are available for enrollment year-round.

Several major companies offering shortterm plans in Montana have already announced that they will waive deductibles, copays, coinsurance and prior authorization requirements for COVID-19 testing services.

Consumers are advised that not all shortterm plans may cover testing for COVID-19. Always consult with your health plan or insurance agent about the specifics of your coverage prior to purchasing any insurance product.

ACA special enrollment period

Special Enrollment may be available for qualifying individuals who’ve had certain life events, including losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child.

To see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, visit healthcare.gov/screener.

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