Tester Announces More Than $7 Million in ARPA Funding to Help Lower Montanans’ Health Insurance Costs

Funding will lower health insurance premiums for Montanans with insurance through the health insurance exchange

Following his continued push for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to support Montana reinsurance programs and lower the cost of health insurance for Montanans, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $7,129,995 in additional American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to reimburse health insurance exchange insurers for certain high-cost claims that would otherwise be paid by consumers and the federal government.

Tester was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote in favor of the funding.

“This pandemic is highlighting what we already knew: quality health care is too expensive and hits Montanans pocketbooks hard,” Tester said. “That is why I fought to secure this funding to help lower Montanans’ health insurance costs. Rising health care costs hurt working families and small businesses across our state so we need to continue to work together to provide access to affordable health care.”

States that have section 1332 state-based reinsurance waivers, including Montana, will receive funding to improve access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage. The $7.1 million for Montana’s reinsurance program will reimburse health insurance exchange insurers for certain high-cost claims in the individual health insurance market using a mix of federal pass-through funding and association member assessments.

Tester pushed for Medicare to support Montana’s application for a Section 1332 Innovation Waiver in a letter to the CMS urging resources to lower health insurance premiums for Montanans insured through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

Tester has long been an advocate for increasing Montanans’ access to affordable, high quality health care. He secured funding for Montana telehealth programs in the CARES Act, and successfully fought for those provisions expanding access to telehealth to be made permanent. He also recently introduced his bipartisan Pharmacy DIR Reform to Reduce Senior Drug Costs Act to combat rising drug prices and the predatory practices of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), which the CMS estimates will save Medicare beneficiaries $7.1 to $9.2 billion in reduced cost sharing.