MFU & MHC Partner on Statewide Health Care Educational Meetings
Montana Farmers Union (MFU) and the Montana Health CO-OP announce a series of statewide meetings to educate Montanans about how co-ops function, and about the Montana Health CO-OP. Montana Health CO-OP was awarded $58 million loan from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to build a non-profit, member-owned health insurance cooperative. Focusing on individuals and small businesses, MHC will offer a variety of affordable plans and a statewide provider network. “Applying the co-op business model to health care delivery is exciting and innovative,” said MFU President Alan Merrill. “With many farm and ranch families having to buy on the expensive, individual insurance market – or take their chances without insurance altogether – it is natural for MFU, with support for member-owned co-ops as part of its core mission, to look for comprehensive, affordable ways to provide quality health insurance to our members.” MHC is one of eight health insurance cooperatives nationwide selected by HHS to receive start-up loans. Funding is under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act, with health insurance cooperatives receiving bi-partisan consensus as a viable means of increasing competition within the health insurance industry and controlling spiraling healthcare costs.
“This is a local effort to make quality healthcare affordable to all Montanans,” explained Dr. Tom Roberts, chairman of the MHC Board of Directors and president of Western Montana Clinic, a multi-specialty medical group in Missoula. “We’re excited about the prospect of making health insurance affordable to the 20% of the statewide population without any coverage.” MHC plans will be offered on the federal insurance exchange, with federal subsidies available for qualified individuals to offset monthly premium costs. Enrollment will begin in October 2013, with insurance coverage effective in January 2014.
The MFU/MHC educational meetings will be held this winter and spring at the following communities:
February 19, Missoula City Library, Conference Room, 1:30 to 3:30 PM, Kalispell, Flathead Electric Co-op, 2510 Hwy. 2 E., 7:00 to 9:00 PM
February 26, Bozeman, Holiday Inn, Jefferson Rm., 5 Baxter Lane, 1:30 to 3:30 PM. Butte, Montana Technology, UM, Student Union Center, 1300 W. Park St., 7:00 to 9:00 PM. April 9, Havre, Town House Inn, 629 W. 1st St., 1:30 to 3:30 PM, Glasgow, TBA, 7:00 to 9:00 PM. April 10, Miles City, TBA 1:30 to 3:30 PM. Billings, TBA, 7:00 to 9:00 PM. April 11, Lewistown, Eagles Hall, 224 Main Street, 1:30 to 3:30 PM. Great Falls, College of Great Falls, MSU, 2100 16th Ave. So., 7:00 to 9:00 PM