Healthy Montana Kids
insurance program reaches out to tribal nations
are more important reasons to enroll in Healthy Montana Kids than the
prizes offered by THHS. For instance it helps relieve the financial
stretch on the THHS dollar by channeling eligible applicants to the
free or low cost health coverage program. (B.L. Azure photo)
ST. IGNATIUS — Third party billing. That is
mantra of the Tribal Health and Human Services Department as it
navigates its future. The more THHS can bill third parties for the
services it provides to patients in its clinics the better it is for
their bottom line. A healthy bottom line means THHS can re-channel its
funds towards investment in its human and facility resources. That in
turn leads to improved services for THHS clientele and that in the end
benefits all parties involved especially the children.
There are various avenues - Medicare, Medicaid,
private insurance - to third party billing for the services THHS
provides in its clinics. Now there is another one. It's called Healthy
Montana Kids (HMK) and it provides free or low cost healthcare
coverage. There are no co-pays for eligible Indian children.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and
the other tribal nations in Montana are involved in the State managed
via the sovereign government-to-government relationship. The CSKT and
the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services entered into
an HMK agreement in April.
THHS is currently seeking to enroll as many
eligible families in the HMK program in order to, among other things,
loosen the strain on less-than-adequate Indian Health Service funding.
For people uninsured or under insured the IHS is the payer of last
resort. It doesn't take long to put strains on its budget; that is why
Indian people eligible for other health insurance programs should take
advantage of them.
"This is a good program, an economical way for
those eligible to get insurance," said Diane Matt, THHS HMK
coordinator, reiterating that there are no co-pays for eligible Indian
families. "We want to get as many people as we can enrolled in this
(insurance) program by December 30. The Indian Health Service has
limited amounts of money. They'll have more money left for other
healthcare needs if the people eligible for this program enroll in it.
That is why it is so important for people to enroll in this."
Matt said the application is easy and that
applicants only need to provide the completed form with two months of
check stubs for income verification. THHS will assist eligible families
with the application process. The income requirements have changed so
that more families are now eligible for HMK. Presently families with an
income 250 percent or less of the federal poverty level are eligible.
Once the application is done it is sent to the DPHHS in Helena.
Children up to age 19 are eligible for Healthy
Montana Kids. They must be Montana residents as well as a United States
citizen or qualified alien. There is income and other guidelines
however there are also waivers in many of them.
For some families, depending on income, children
must be uninsured for three months (there are waivers for Native
American children). For some families, depending on income, the child's
parent or stepparent may not be employed by the State of Montana or the
Montana University system. A household must meet income guidelines for
household size to be eligible.
HMK covered services, among other things,
include,: office and clinic visits; emergency services; hospital
services; sports or employment physicals; anesthesia services; surgical
services; well-child checkups; prescription drugs; laboratory and X-ray
services; mental health services; substance abuse services; dental
services; vision exams and eyeglasses; and hearing exams and hearing
There will be a drawing for children prizes
Friday, September 24, for those who enroll in the HMK healthcare
coverage through THHS. The prizes include a bicycle, children's games
and toys, DVD player, water sports equipment, gift certificates and
more. All families who enroll will be awarded a Wal-Mart $25 gift
For more information on Healthy Montana Kids, call
Diane Matt or Carla Tanner at 745-3525.