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Medicaid & Behavioral Health

Using Medicaid to support the behavioral health system and increase access to services.

Medicaid provides Montanans with low-incomes access to physical and behavioral health care services based on their medical needs and life circumstances. It also provides access to primary care services, a crucial resource for early detection and treatment of behavioral health concerns.

Montana expanded Medicaid in 2016, increasing access to behavioral health care services in two critical ways. First, it provided coverage for over 90,000 Montanans, including many previously uninsured. Second, it provided funding that has allowed Montana’s behavioral health system to grow and add new services to the benefit of all Montanans.

  • In 2020, over 33,000 expansion enrollees (37%) had a behavioral health diagnosis recorded on a claim or received a behavioral health service.
  • Between 2019 and 2020, through the public health emergency, expansion enrollee use of behavioral health services increased by 28%, as telehealth services for behavioral health reshaped how services were delivered (+3,112%) and as the state expanded access to medically assisted treatment, peer support services, and intensive outpatient services.
  • Increased access to and utilization of behavioral health services by expansion enrollees, combined with a nine-to-one federal spending match for payments, has brought over $53 million in new funding to Montana to support the state’s behavioral health system. Expansion expanded the resources available for substance use disorder prevention and treatment in Montana by over 60% and allowed funding for substance use disorder prevention services to more than triple.
  • Increased provider payments allowed Montana’s behavioral health system to grow to meet the need better. The number of state-authorized substance use disorder treatment provider service locations more than doubled between 2016 and 2021. In addition, the number of providers waivered to prescribe buprenorphine increased by over 700% between 2017 and 2021.

Medicaid expansion strengthened access to and provided critical funding to support and grow Montana’s behavioral health system.


Medicaid Expansion: Supporting Montana’s Behavioral Health System

This report shows how much progress has been made to improve behavioral health since Montana implemented Medicaid expansion in 2016.

Medicaid and Substance Use Disorders

This report explores Medicaid’s new role as the primary payer for substance use disorder services in Montana.

Sustaining and Expanding Integrated Care in Montana

This report provides finance, policy, and workforce recommendations for sustaining and expanding the integrated care model.