October 27, 2010                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

State Program for Small Business Health Insurance Keeps Premium Rates Steady


      Helena, MT – Insure Montana, the state run insurance pool for small businesses, is in the final stages completing renewals for the coming year. The Insure Montana Board and Blue Cross Blue Shield were able to negotiate a premium increase of only 2.2% for plans.
      
      Insure Montana members will keep all plan benefits from last year with some extras due to healthcare reform. The new benefits include no annual or lifetime limits, no pre-existing condition exclusions for dependents under 19, wellness and preventive care benefits, and the ability for dependents to remain on a policy until age 26.
      
      “The Insure Montana program continues to be an excellent choice for businesses offering health insurance. Employers and employees are set to experience significant savings with the added benefits due to healthcare reform, “said Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen.
      
      “This renewal is good news for the members enrolled in the plans available through the purchasing pool. The Board has been able to use management tools and strategies to keep the rates affordable,” said Jim Edwards, Insure Montana Board Chairperson.
      
      The Insure Montana purchasing pool provides health insurance premium subsidies to 847 small businesses and their almost 2,300 employees covering over 4,000 lives, including the employees’ dependents. It is funded through the voter passed tobacco tax.
      
      Insure Montana participating businesses and employees must submit the online program renewal applications by October 31st. Insure Montana staff will be available to assist with the online renewal applications on Saturday, October 30th and Sunday, October 31st from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Insure Montana can be reached at 1-800-332-6148 or (406) 444-2040.