Montana: Wow! 20K already signed up for ACA Medicaid expansion on launch day!

Long-time readers may have noticed that unlike private QHP enrollment, I've sort of given up on trying to track Medicaid expansion numbers at the state-level on the Medicaid Spreadsheet this year. Quite frankly, there's simply too much missing data and way too much "churn" in Medicaid for me to keep track of it at that granular level. Instead, I've just been looking at the Medicaid numbers from the national level, guided by CMS's monthly reports...but I've proven to be pretty accurate with my proejctions on those trends so far, so I'm not too concerned about it.

However, anytime a new state expands Medicaid, it's big news to track their numbers...and Montana is off to a fantastic start:

Starting Friday, low-income Montanans covered by Montana’s expanded Medicaid program can start using their coverage – and 20,000 people have already signed up.

“Everyone deserves access to quality health care, and for those who have never been able to afford it … they’ll be given that chance through the (Medicaid expansion) program,” says John Doran, spokesman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, which is administering the program.

Doran said anyone approved as eligible and who has received their I.D. card from Blue Cross can have their care covered as of Friday – from a broad network of providers.

Every Montana hospital and nearly 5,000 physicians and other health-care providers are in the provider network, to offer care for people covered by the expanded Medicaid, he said.

Also, it appears sign-ups are proceeding at or above estimated levels.

The Bullock administration estimated earlier this year that 23,000 eligible people would sign up for coverage by the end of June 2016.

Enrollment had reached 20,000 as of Thursday, just two months after sign-up began, state health officials said.   

The estimates of how many Montanans are eligible for the Medicaid expansion program vary by source, but state officials have most recently pegged it at around 70,000, so the state has already achieved around 29% of the maximum enrollment possible.