October 29, 2008                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton


      The renewal for the Insure Montana small group medical insurance pool is in the final stages of completion. The IM Board elected to take the plan to the market place to secure competitive bids through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. New West Health Care and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana submitted proposals.
      Blue Cross was awarded the contract. “We are very pleased with the proposal Blue Cross Blue Shield came forward with,” said Insure Montana Director Jill Sark. “Businesses insuring through the Insure Montana program will experience a very minimal rate increase in 2009,” said Board member Jim Edwards. “We were really pleased with the work that both New West and Blue Cross put into their proposals,” Edwards said.
      The Blue Cross proposal will allow Insure Montana to recover premiums paid that exceed claims costs and operating expenses. “If the plan runs in the black, the profits will be returned to the pool,” said John Morrison, State Auditor/Insurance Commissioner. The other feature that made the Blue Cross proposal attractive was that they were willing to reduce their administrative costs substantially.
      “The only benefit change our policy holders will experience in 2009 is an improvement in the mammogram benefit – it is being increased substantially to better reflect what the providers are now charging for that preventive screening procedure,” said Sark.
      The Insure Montana pool provides health insurance to 731 businesses covering 2000 employees and an additional 1902 family members and was the brain child of State Auditor/Insurance Commission John Morrison and Governor Schweitzer. It is funded through the tobacco tax.
      If you would like information on Insure Montana, please call 1-800-332-6148.