New Survey Results Find Montana Medicaid Expansion Enrollees Report Improved Health, Ability to Access Health Care Services

Bozeman, Mont., February 4, 2019 – According to new survey results released today, nearly half of the respondents (43 percent) reported an improvement in their general health since enrolling in Montana’s Medicaid expansion. Most respondents also reported improved ability to access medical care (69 percent) and dental care (51 percent), and nearly half (47 percent) reported an improvement in their ability to access needed mental health and substance use treatment services.

Prior to receiving coverage under Medicaid expansion, 64 percent of respondents said they waited to seek medical care and nearly half took less medication than prescribed because they could not afford it.

“The survey shows that receiving coverage under Medicaid expansion has allowed Montanans to access needed medical care,” said MHCF CEO Dr. Aaron Wernham. “As a consequence, even so early in this program, many recipients already report that they are healthier.”

“Medicaid expansion is a key component in helping Montanans address two of the biggest challenges facing our communities – mental health and substance use disorder,” said Dr. Greg Holzman, State Medical Officer for the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). “We will not be able to turn the tide on suicide or substance abuse without ensuring access to health care.”

Monthly data is now reported online on DPHHS’s new interactive dashboard, which provides insight into how Medicaid Expansion benefits the health of recipients. For example, the dashboard shows that:

  • More than 90,000 enrollees have received preventive health services.
  • Nearly 2,500 possible cases of colon cancer have been identified and averted.
  • Nearly 1,000 people have been newly diagnosed and treated for diabetes.
  • Nearly 40,000 people have now received outpatient mental health and substance use services, which is expected to help prevent more severe and costly residential and inpatient treatment in many cases.

The survey was conducted by national research firm SSRS and the survey data was analyzed by the state’s Public Health and Safety Division. The project was commissioned by the Montana Healthcare Foundation.

The survey analysis can be found here.

The Medicaid Expansion Dashboard can be accessed here.

About the Public Health and Safety Division
The Public Health and Safety Division (PHSD) of DPHHS works to protect and improve the health of Montanans by advancing conditions for health living. PHSD leads the state’s public health efforts and provides state-level coordination of key public health services to support the health and well-being of communities. Public health programs and services are delivered in communities across the state by our partners, which include local and tribal health departments, health systems, community health centers, hospitals, community-based organizations, and many other groups. For more information, please visit https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth.

About the Montana Healthcare Foundation
The Montana Healthcare Foundation (MHCF) makes strategic investments to improve the health and well-being of all Montanans. Created in 2013, MHCF has approximately $170 million in assets, making it Montana’s largest health-focused private foundation. MHCF contributes to a measurably healthier state by supporting access to quality and affordable health services, conducting evidence-driven research and analysis, and addressing the upstream influences on health and illness. To learn more about the Foundation and its focus areas, please visit www.mthcf.org.

###