HELENA – State leaders have introduced a new tool to help the public find information about the effects of Montana’s Medicaid expansion.
Gov. Steve Bullock’s office this week announced an interactive online dashboard, created in collaboration with the Montana Healthcare Foundation. It shows data about how many Montanans have enrolled in the program, but it also highlights how many have received specific services through it – like mental health treatment or cancer screenings. The information can be broken down county by county or month by month.
The dashboard is available online at medicaiddashboard.mt.gov.
Erica Johnston, operation services branch manager for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, said the dashboard will make it easier for Montanans to see the real-world effects of expanding Medicaid.
“We’ve been talking since Medicaid expansion was implemented in January of 2016 a lot about the dollars and cents of the program and the amount of fiscal impact that it has on Montana,” she said. “A lot of people are very interested in learning more about what the health impacts are of this program.”
Johnston said there have already been notable effects from the Medicaid expansion. More than 96,000 adults were enrolled in the expanded program as of Aug. 1. Almost 27,000 people have received outpatient mental health services, and more than 6,000 have received breast or colon cancer screenings.
“Preventive services are the type of services that people without health insurance don’t typically seek out,” said Johnston. “We’re really excited to see that people are now seeking this lower-cost preventive service, getting the services that they need before their symptoms become acute.”
The Montana Legislature approved expanding Medicaid eligibility in 2015.
-Jonathon Ambarian reporting for MTN News