Rural Dynamics

HELENA- In an effort to help try and relieve the financial stress on families, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana (BCBCMT) has awarded Rural Dynamics with a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Family grant.

The grant is awarded to invest in and partner with like-minded nonprofits that offer sustainable, measureable programs to reach children and their families in nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, substance abuse prevention, and suicide prevention.

The grant was given to Rural Dynamics, a Great Falls nonprofit origination, because they’re developing a program to help Montanans to become financially aware, reducing any chances of financial stress in their future, along with the health risks that come with.

“Financial stress takes a real toll on mental health and physical wellbeing and contributes to rising health care costs,” said John Doran, BCBSMT Divisional Vice President of External Affairs. “The Rural Dynamics proposal addresses the root cause of financial distress,” John also goes on to say that mental heal is not a one-size-fits-all for treatment.

Senator Tom Jacobson, the executive director of Rural Dynamics, visited BCBCMT’s Helena office on August 13th, where he was surprised by Doran and about 60 BCBSMT employees with the grant.

The nonprofit had been working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield for almost a year, trying to find ways that they could address both the financial and physical wellbeing of Montanans.

BCBSMT, GreenPath Financial Wellness, Benefis Health Systems, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Financial Security, Rural Dynamics is going to test several tools to figure out the best way to serve those in need, including:

  • Providing online prevention tools to educate and assist families in budgeting and planning for financial security 
  • Completing an assessment of income and expenses to form the baseline for developing a budget and plan to pay for expenses not covered by insurance 
  • Debt repayment plans with healthcare providers that may consist of negotiated payment or other concessions  
  • Allowing for affordability within the family’s budget 
  • Other interventions that are identified as desirable and feasible to users and stakeholders through the design process 

The project is currently in a pilot phase, focusing on north central Montanans within Benefis Health System’s service area, and if it goes well they plan on expanding testing efforts to include residents throughout Montana.

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