Cover Montana and Cover Native Montana

Since 2013, Montana’s uninsured rate has dropped from 20% to 8.6%. This drop is largely due to new coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace and expanded Montana Medicaid.

The Cover Montana project works to connect Montanans who have questions about enrolling in health insurance options with a local enrollment assister who can walk them through the process. This is largely done through the Cover Montana website. Enrollment assisters are located at Health Centers, Urban Indian Health Centers, hospitals, Indian Health Service, Tribal Health, and other organizations.

MPCA facilitates the Cover Montana project and provides training and technical assistance to enrollment assisters from across Montana. Trainings are done via webinar and MPCA Population Health and Enabling Services Summit that happens in October. Stay in the loop, sign up for the Cover Montana email list.

Visit here.

The Safeguard Access Grants are now open – apply here!

On July 30th, Governor Bullock announced a 1M investment in outreach and enrollment efforts to connect Montanans to coverage. You can read a copy of his press release here.

MPCA is excited to be working on this project and thrilled about the investment in outreach and enrollment efforts at health care providers across the state.

The plan has two components:

  1. The Montana Primary Care Association is receiving $300,000 to provide training, technical assistance, and support to the outreach and enrollment assister community through Cover Montana. This work includes outreach and public education and the opportunity to raise awareness about coverage options as we head back to school and into Open Enrollment.
  2. $700,000 will be distributed in grants to eligible health care providers to support on-site Certified Application Counselors. Each grant is $30,000 to support their work to enroll their patients and community.

Project Q & A (this will be updated as we learn more):

Note: The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is managing and implementing this program and they are still finalizing details. However, we have put together questions and answers and will add information and we learn more. Hopefully, this Q & A will help those who are eligible and thinking about applying to learn more about Cover Montana and the CAC/CDO process.

Q: When does the application open?
A: The application goes live on Monday, August 10th.

Q: What kind of information do I need to apply?
A: A PDF copy of the grant application language.

Q: How do I apply?
A: Apply at . Click on the dark green button that says “Click here to apply.” Look for and select the “Safeguard Access Grant” (it is not there yet because the application is not live). The grant application is on the Submittable platform and it might get slow if there are a lot of folks applying at the same time.

Q: Which healthcare providers are eligible to apply?
A:  Tribal Governments, Urban Indian Health Clinics, Hospitals, Community Health Centers, and healthcare providers who currently have a Certified Application Counselor.

Q: How much are the grants for providers?
A: $30,000 per eligible provider entity

Q: When does the grant application open?
A: The grant application opens on Monday, August 10th and funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is a PDF copy of the grant language.

Q: What can the grants be used for?
A: They can be used for personnel costs including the time to complete the Certified Application Counselor Training and outreach and enrollment assistance. Grant funds must be used for costs incurred by December 31, 2020.

Q: Where can I learn more about hiring and/or training a Certified Application Counselor?
A: In order to have a Certified Application Counselor (CAC), an organization must first apply to become a Certified Application Counselor Designated Organization (CDO) with CMS. Here is the website with all kinds of information about the CDO application process. CMS is currently in the process of recertification with current CDO organization. These organization applied two years ago and their CDO renewal is happening on a rolling basis this summer. For organizations that are not currently a CDO, the deadline to apply to become a CDO is August 31, 2020.

Q: When will the new CMS enrollment assister training open?
A: Each year, Certified Application Counselors must retake the training in order to maintain their CAC status. Training for the 2020 Open Enrollment period, for 2021 plans, will open in “late summer,” according to CMS. Enrollment assisters who want to provide enrollment assistance in November should wait for the new training. The current CAC training will be removed at the end of August and the new training is expected to be available shortly after.

Q: In addition to the CMS training, are there any other trainings required to become a CAC in Montana?
A: Yes, the state of Montana has their own training requirements for CACs. This is overseen by the Office of the Montana State Auditor and you can learn more here under the CAC section.

Q: What kinds of coordination and support will Cover Montana provide to CACs?
A: MPCA is still finalizing workplans for this project, but this is how we plan to work with our CAC partners from across the state:

  • Regular Zoom training about relevant outreach and enrollment topics such as: outreach 101, building referral networks from other direct service providers, in-reach to your current uninsured patients, changes to 2021 plans, and more.
  • Regular email newsletters with updates leading up to and throughout Open Enrollment.
  • One-on-one coaching for new enrollment assisters.
  • One-on-one support for outreach and enrollment questions and challenges.
  • Making local connections between enrollment assisters to helps support and facilitate local coordination.

MPCA hosted a webinar on Monday, August 10th. Watch a recording of that webinar.