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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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Health Insurance Marketplace Enrolls 58,000 Montanans in Three Months

About 58,000 Montanans have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace since November. (AARP)
About 58,000 Montanans have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace since November. (AARP)
February 9, 2016

HELENA, Mont. - Montana is making a serious dent in its number of uninsured residents with 58,000 people enrolling or re-enrolling in health insurance through the federal insurance marketplace in the past three months.

The third annual open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act just ended Jan. 31 and reopens next November.

Annette Raveneau, national Latino press secretary for the nonprofit Enroll America, says now, Montanans shouldn't be shy about using their new coverage.

"The residents from Montana need to know that they have free preventive services included," says Raveneau. "So they could get their annual check-up, make sure that they get their blood work done, to make sure that you're staying healthy."

Montana became the 30th state to expand Medicaid in November with the HELP program, which raised the income limit to people at 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That means 70,000 additional Montanans are now eligible for coverage. 27,000 have signed up so far. Enrollment in the HELP program is year-round.

Nationally, 12.7 million people enrolled or re-enrolled through the marketplace in the past three months. Raveneau says those numbers have been improving, year to year.

"The first open enrollment period was around 8 million people," she says. "The second open enrollment period was 11.7 million. And then, for this third open enrollment period, it's 12.7 million."

An additional 14 million Americans have gained health insurance over the past three years as states expanded their Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs with money from the Affordable Care Act.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MT