Senators announce $1 million grant to help Montanans pay for health insurance

Grant Will Help ‘High-Risk’ Patients Get The Insurance Coverage They Need

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana's U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today announced more than $1 million to help Montanans struggling to pay for the health insurance they need because they suffer from preexisting diseases or conditions.

The Montana Comprehensive Health Association will receive $1,054,073 for operating its 'high-risk pool.'  The pool helps sick or recovering Montanans pay for health insurance they cannot otherwise afford.

Patients suffering from cancer, diabetes or other debilitating diseases and conditions can be excluded from health insurance plans or charged exorbitant fees because they are expensive to insure.

"All Montanans deserve access to quality, affordable health care," Baucus said. "The folks who use this program are our neighbors, friends and family. This grant is about making sure they have the coverage they need to live full, happy, healthy lives under the Big Sky."

"This effort is about making sure all Montanans get the quality health care they deserve," Tester said. "Putting more resources into will pave the way to better health care for thousands of folks.  It's the right thing to do."

Currently more than 3,000 Montanans are enrolled in the high-risk pool. Within the pool, members living near the poverty level also qualify for additional insurance premium assistance.

Baucus played an instrumental role in the creation of the high-risk pool program. In 2001, Baucus secured funding for Montana's high-risk pool. The next year he included language in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reform Act of 2002 to expand the program to other states; and in 2004 he co-sponsored the reauthorization bill.

The Montana Comprehensive Health Association was awarded the grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.