Montana Insurance Commissioner John Morrison is trying to get funding to help more businesses enroll in the state’s small business health coverage program.

The Insure Montana program, established in 2004, can hold participating employers’ costs down by acting as a purchasing pool and by offering special small business group health tax credits.

The program now covers state employers with about 9,000 employees, but it could cover 700 more businesses with about 5,000 employees if it had more funding, Morrison says.

Morrison is asking for about $18 million in additional funding to clear the waiting list and remove part of a 2007 cap on subsidy levels.

The program now is getting $22 million in appropriations over 2 years, Morrison says.