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Why this topic?

Access to medical care is a vital component of a healthy community. Given the high cost of medical services, treatment and screening are often prohibitively expensive for those without health care coverage. While some people may obtain medical treatment through Medicare or other government-sponsored programs, many members of our community — in particular females, young adults, the working poor — have no coverage and do not use medical services because they can’t pay. The consequences of inaccessible health care are serious: wellness care (regular checkups) can prevent many health problems; illnesses relatively inexpensive to treat with early diagnosis may, without medical intervention, escalate to emergency status at great personal and financial cost. Lack of medical services also breeds isolation among people who may already feel alone and abandoned.

How are we doing?

As recently as 2010, about 17% of Montana adults reported they were uninsured. (Remember that only 1% of adults 65 and older are uncovered due to Medicare). Missoula’s population is growing, so the number of people without coverage is growing too, even if the percentage remains the same. 

graph percent with some health care coverage, by state, 2011

However, with implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, the percentage of uninsured adults should drop significantly in coming years.  The US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Planning and Evaluation branch reports about 50,716 Montanans enrolled in 2014.  As of summer of 2014, demographic statistics of these enrollees is limited. 

graph ACA Montana enrollees by age, 2014

 

Missoula’s Partnership Health Center, which provides health care to underinsured and uninsured is helping. But many health care needs are going unmet, and health continues to be compromised as a result.

Indicator

Consistently, since 1991:

15% - 17% of Montanans were without health insurance. By 2011,  20% of Montanans have no health insurance.

Source: Montana BRFSS, 2000

Healthy People 2020 Target

  • Proportion of people with some sort of health care insurance - 100%

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Related Data

 

According to the 2005 Census Bureau Report, nationally, the percent of households with medical insurance, by income level:

Income No employer-paid health plan
<$25,000 78%
$25,000-$49,999 43%
$50,000-$74,999 19%
$75,000 + 11%

Nationally, 15% of the population has no health insurance.  In Montana the level of uninsured is 16%, putting Montana in the bottom third of states.

One measure of the benefits of having health insurance is the rate at which pregnant women get health care:

graph % of pregnant women who visit doctor in first trimester

Mt. Vital Statistics

Doctor Visits

Healthy People 2020 Target

  Baseline Target
Percent who have had blood pressure measured in past 2 years 93 95
Percent who have had cholesterol checked in past 5 years 75 82

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Long-time No Insurance

The 1997 Missoula BRFS Survey indicated the length of time since currently uninsured Missoulians had had coverage:

 

Medicaid

The Medicaid program accounts for about 15 percent of all health care spending ($188 billion in 1999) and covers 36 million people. It provides coverage for acute medical care, coverage for disabled (including long-term mentally disabled), long-term care for the poor elderly, and Medicare Part B premiums for the poor elderly and disabled.

Sixty-five percent of people enrolled in Medicaid are in the first category, and 65 percent of the money is spent on the 35 percent in the last three categories.

In a nutshell, those who qualify for Medicaid include:

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Related Websites

National Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey Trends Data

Links to health data, statistics and information from many national sources.

 

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