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What is the Montana State Fund?

Matt Murphy Jan 3, 2017

In Montana, all businesses with employees are required by law to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. An employer can be self insured, buy private insurance, or  obtain coverage from the Montana State Fund. The Montana State Fund is the insurer of "last resort", meaning that it is required to offer coverage to all employers requesting coverage (as long as they pay their premiums). Essentially, the Montana State Fund is a legislatively mandated competitive insurance provider. The Montana State Fund is not funded by taxpayer dollars. Montana State Fund gets its money from premiums, investments, and costs savings. 

Being both a "state fund," and a competive insurance provider, the Montana State Fund's primary goal is to reduce costs. Murphy Law Firm routinely handles cases where the Montana State Fund attempts to reduce its costs by denying legitimate claims, terminating benefits, denying medical treatment, and lobbying to cut benefits to injured workers.

The Montana State Fund also routinely argues that cost savings is a legitimate reason to deny injured workers benefits. Murphy Law Firm has successfully challenged the Montana State Fund's cost savings arguments in many cases. Here are some examples of cases in which Murphy Law Firm prevailed over the Montana State Fund's attempt to reduce costs:

Stavenjord v. Montana State Fund, 2003 MT 67, 314 Mont. 466, 67 P.3d 229. 

Murphy Law Firm challenged the constitutionality of the Occupational Disease Act, which discriminated against diseased as opposed to injured workers. The Montana Supreme agreed with Murphy Law Firm. As a result of Murphy Law Firm’s challenge, occupationally diseased workers receive the same benefits as workers who are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act. 

Reesor v. Montana State Fund, 2004 MT 370, 325 Mont. 1, 103 P.3d 1019.

Murphy Law Firm challenged the constitutionality of denying full workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers over the age of sixty-five. The Montana Supreme Court agreed with Murphy Law Firm. Murphy Law Firm successfully changed decades of law wherein workers compensation insurers unconstitutionally denied equal benefits to elderly workers because of their age.

Murphy Law Firm is currently pursuing another constitutional challenge against the Montana State Fund's cost savings:

Hensley v. Montana State Fund, WCC No. 2013-3235.

Murphy Law Firm is arguing the that the Montana State Fund is unconstitutionallly denying impairment benefits to injured workers.  This action is currently in the Montana Workers Compensation Court. If successful, this decision will result in millions of dollars of benefits to injured workers in Montana.

Remember, like any other insurance company, Montana State Fund focuses on keeping red out of their ledger. If they save money on your claim, you did not get the compensation you deserved. Don't be fooled, the Montana State Fund will not put your interests above its own. For more information, please visit Murphy Law Firm, or call us at (406) 452-2345 for a free initial consultation evaluated by a team of experienced workers' compensation attorneys. 

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