Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana Awards Rural Dynamics $50,000 Grant
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana Awards Rural Dynamics $50,000 Grant to Address Connection Between Financial Stress and Well-being
HELENA, Aug. 13, 2019 /BCBSMT/ — Money talks — and so do rising health care costs. In an effort to address the toll that financial stress takes on health care costs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) has awarded Rural Dynamics with a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grant.
Rural Dynamics, a nonprofit organization based in Great Falls, is developing a program to help Montanans be more financially astute, therefore reducing the likelihood of financial stress and the health risks and costs associated with it.
“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. Not only will this proposal relieve the mental anguish of financial problems, it has great potential to also reduce future health care costs as a result.
“Addressing mental health is not a one-size-fits-all approach and this is a new and unique way of treating one of its underlying symptoms.”
Sen. Tom Jacobson of Great Falls is the executive director of Rural Dynamics and visited BCBSMT’s Helena headquarters Tuesday, where Doran and approximately 60 BCBSMT employees gathered to surprise him with the grant.
“When we opened the door and saw the big check, that was quite the surprise. It was a very good surprise,” Jacobson said. “We’ve been working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield for almost a year now to try and look at ways that we can address the financial wellness of individuals so that it has an improved physical wellness on the back end.”
In collaboration with 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 intends to test several tools to determine how to best 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 health care 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