Checking In With Obamacare In Montana - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Checking In With Obamacare In Montana

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KALISPELL -

How is Obamacare doing in Montana?

It is a tricky question, but ABC FOX MONTANA got the most up-to-date numbers for how many people have signed up across the Treasure state.

The Flathead City-County Health Department is pitching in and people are saying it has not been that difficult, so far, getting signed up.

Not everyone made the New Year's deadline to sign up for health insurance.

Brenda Brackin needed a little more time to think it over before picking a plan. That is why she is back at the health department for a little more help.

"I wasn't sure how to go about signing up for the Obamacare so I came here, and the reason that I came here is because for years, I mean probably thirty years, I've been without health insurance," said Brackin.

Nationwide, 1 million people signed up health insurance under the Affordable Care Act as of Christmas eve.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services got more than 6,500 applications for insurance, translating into about 13,000 Montanans.

Of those, less than 10,000 were deemed eligible to enroll. Almost 5,000 of those people enrolled with financial aid like tax credits. These numbers, however, only include October and November's enrollment, not December's. That figure will not be known until later this month.

"It's really too soon to understand what's going to happen as it affects the hospital," said Catherine Todd, a spokeswoman for North Valley Hospital in Whitefish.

So far, North Valley Hospital has not hit any snags.

"We may see people coming in with insurance, but then unable to pay for that co-insurance and the deductibles, which means we in turn as a hospital may see our bad debt rise," explained Todd.

Bad debt refers to whatever patients cannot or will not pay. Right now, North Valley is working on getting the patient portal up and running by February 1. Part of the Affordable Care Act requires anyone accepting Medicare money to set up an online system where people can login and access their own medical records.

From both sides of care, things seem to be on track.

"I am excited and a little scared being honest, but I am excited. Yes, it is a big deal," said Brackin.

Experts say the new batch of updated enrollment numbers will be released in about a week.

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