Coverage Options for Montanans who are Justice-Involved

New coverage options for the justice-involved

Health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace ( and expanded Medicaid provide new affordable health insurance coverage options for many Montanans, including those who are justice-involved. Whether someone is facing charges, currently incarcerated, or recently released, new coverage options are available.

What is Montana Medicaid?

  • Medicaid is a free or low-cost comprehensive health insurance plan for low and moderate income Montanans. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services administers Medicaid.
  • Montana Medicaid is available to individuals who make less than $16,394 a year or $1,366 per month. Find our more about Medicaid eligibility, including a chart for families here.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

  • The Marketplace is a website ( where you can shop for and purchase private health insurance plans. The Marketplace is the only place you can apply for tax credits to help make your plan more affordable. Most Montanans who apply are found eligible for tax credits, so we encourage everyone to apply. She what you might qualify for here.
  • Marketplace coverage is available to individuals who make more than $16,394 a year or $1,366 a month.

Eligibility for coverage depends on where you are at in the criminal justice system

To qualify for Medicaid or the Marketplace, you must meet their eligibility guidelines, but it also depends on where you are at in the criminal justice system. The chart below outlines your eligibility for the Marketplace and Medicaid at different points.


These charts can also be found this Cover Montana handout about coverage options for the justice-involved.

Medicaid doesn’t pay for most health care when someone is in jail, so why apply? 

Correct, Medicaid doesn’t pay for most health care when someone in prison or jail, but there are still advantages to applying even if someone is incarcerated:*

  • If someone applies while incarcerated or they are enrolled in Medicaid and become incarcerated, their Medicaid coverage is put in a “suspended” status until they are released.
  • Once someone is released, their coverage can be “turned on” quickly. This helps to ensure that there isn’t a  gap in access to health care or prescription medication pre and post-incarceration.

In addition to Montana Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace, some who are justice-involved may be eligible for other coverage programs such as VA, Medicare, Indian Health Service, employer-sponsored coverage, etc. If you have questions about other coverage ask a caseworker or reach out to an enrollment assister who can answer questions and help you apply for coverage.

Other resources and information:

If you are new to insurance, check out the Health Insurance Basics page. It will give you an overview of how things work. We also have a nifty glossary that will help you understand insurance terms. also has more information about coverage options for those who are justice-involved.

Have questions? Need help?

Enrollment assisters are ready and able to answer questions and help you apply for coverage. Their help is always free and confidential. With just a zip code you can find an enrollment assister near you.

*Medicaid may be able to pay for care if someone who is incarcerated is admitted to a hospital, nursing facility, juvenile psychiatric facility, or an intermediate care facility. Any questions regarding this coverage should be directed to your case worker, a local Office of Public Assistance, or an enrollment assister.