Access to health care services is possible for people without health insurance. Montana’s health care providers and hospitals offer health care at discounted prices. Community Health Centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers and some county health departments provide health care based upon a sliding fee schedule. The amount charged to the patient depends on their family income.
Other programs that might provide assistance with health costs include Montana Medicaid, the Healthy Montana Kids Program (formerly known as Children’s Health Insurance Plan or CHIP) and Mental Health Access Plan.
Montana’s community hospitals provide emergency health services to all regardless of ability to pay.
Private health professionals offer care to their established patients and often consider the patient’s financial limitations to pay for care. Be honest about your financial situation when approaching a physician, dentist or other health care provider for services you might not be able to pay for. It is important that you work out a financial arrangement with a health care provider before they provide care to you.
To help keep your costs down be sure not to put off getting needed health care when symptoms arise. Preventive care and early intervention are the least costly approaches to affordable health care. Putting off necessary treatment early usually means more intensive services later. Those more intensive services come with higher costs.
Community Health Centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers
Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are organizations receiving Public Health Service grant funding. FQHCs qualify for enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other benefits. FQHCs must serve an underserved area or population and offer services using a sliding fee scale.
Montana Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that pays for a broad range of medically necessary health care and long-term care for eligible low-income Montanans. To be eligible for Montana Medicaid, you must meet financial requirements that take into account your income, assets, and resources. You must be a Montana resident and a U.S. citizen (or qualified non-citizen), and you must fall into one of the following groups:
To find out if you qualify for Medicaid, call or visit their website.
Healthy Montana Kids
Healthy Montana Kids (formerly known as CHIP) is a free or low-cost health insurance plan. The plan provides health insurance to eligible Montana children up to age 19. A child can qualify for the Healthy Montana Kids Plan based on family size and income. HMK covers pre-existing medical conditions. To learn more go to their web site or call the HMK Family Health Line at 1-877-KidsNow (1-877-543-7669).
Mental Health Access Plan
The Mental Health Services Plan (MHSP) is a state-funded program that provides medically necessary mental health services to individuals who are over the age of 17 with a family income of 150% of the Federal poverty level. In addition to the financial eligibility, the individual must have a severe and disabling mental illness determined by a licensed mental health professional.