Health Insurance in Alaska

According to the America’s 2008 Health Rankings, Alaska has maintained its 30th position since 2007 to become one of healthiest state to live in. The high rate of smoking and percentage of children in poverty is gradually decreasing over the past couple of years. The state of Alaska, having the population of more than six hundred fifty thousand people, boasts of both private-market and public health insurance alternatives. The private-market health insurance comprises of numerous types of health plans including family, medicare supplemental, short-term, student, group and dental. Additionally, the state and federal government sponsored programs provide low-priced health coverage to the uninsurable residents of Alabama who meet specific eligibility requirements such as age, income, etc.

The Alaska Division of Insurance is in charge for regulating all types of insurance sold in the state of Alaska including health insurance policies offered by private-market health insurers or public health coverage programs. However, approximately 17.7% of the population remains uninsured, which is the biggest health issue for the Alaskan lawmakers. According to the Censor Bureau’s 2007 and 2008 Current Population Survey, approximately 48.1% uninsured Alaska residents come under the 200% FPL category.

Choosing a health plan is not as easy as it was before. Therefore, it is mandatory to consult with a licensed health insurance agent/broker to avail the appropriate health insurance alternatives.

Individual/Family Health Insurance

Below is the guidelines for applying for and obtaining individual health insurance in the state of Alaska. These regulations apply to all insurance companies offering individual or family health insurance in Alaska:

Medical Underwriting
Yes
Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Period
12 months
Look Back Period
6 months
Look Back Standard
No definition
Mandatory Benefits
Cancer screening for women, breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, reconstructive surgery after mastectomy, OB/GYNs as Primary Care Providers
Market Rate Restrictions
None
Guaranteed Issue Options
None
Small Group Health Insurance

Below is the guidelines for small group health insurance in the state of Alaska. These regulations apply to all insurance companies offering small group health insurance in Alaska:

Small Group Size
2 to 50
Employee Qualifications

Guaranteed Issue
Yes (5No Guarantee Issue for group
sized 50+)
Premium Rating Factors
Rate Bands with Limits
Rate Adjustment Factors
35%
Look-Back Period
6 months
Pre-existing condition exclusionary period
12 months
Mandatory Benefits
Same as individual
State Cobra Variations for Small Groups

Below are the COBRA guidelines for small groups in the state of Alaska. For employer groups of more than 20 employees, refer to the federal COBRA guidelines:

Mini-Cobra Option
No
Eligible Group Sizes
NA
Extension of Benefits Period – Standard
NA
Extension of Benefits Period – Disabled
NA
Maximum Premium Increase
NA
State Legislation Reference
NA
Additional Notes
NA
State Sponsored Health Insurance Programs

There are several state sponsored health insurance programs in the State of Alaska to assist those without insurance in obtaining adequate coverage.
High-Risk Pools

Some states offer special state sponsored health insurance plans for qualified persons that are not eligible for individual health insurance due to pre-existing medical conditions. The guidelines for enrollment in these programs vary by state. The high-risk pool in the State of Alaska is summarized in the chart below:

Plan Name
Alaska Comprehensive Health Insurance Association
Website
https://www.achia.com/Default.asp
Phone Number
888-290-0616
HIPPA Eligibility Required?
Yes
Available Carriers
Six Comprehensive PPO Plans with different deductibles and Non PPO Traditional Plan
Pre-Existing Condition Waiting Period
6 months
Enrollment Periods
Open to new enrollment
Premium Limits
No more than 175% of standard rates
Lifetime Maximum Benefit
$2 Million
Special Notes
Also available to people who have lost their group health insurance and have exhausted or have no COBRA option available
Children’s Health Insurance Program

Through shared funding from the federal government, the State of Alaska provides health insurance for uninsured children that meet certain eligibility guidelines. A summary of this program is outlined in the chart below:

Program Name
Denali Kid Care
Website
http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dhcs/denalikidcare/default.htm
Phone Number
888-318-8890
Apply Online
Yes
Age Limits
Under 19
Insurance Carrier
NA
Length of Coverage
6 months
Residency Requirements
Alaska residents
Other Eligibility Requirements
Children with health insurance meeting certain family income requirements.

Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions
No
Cost
None
Medicaid

Medicaid is a state program partially funded through the federal government. Qualification guidelines, as well as the types of people that are eligible, will vary by state. The chart below provides a summary of the Medicaid programs in the State of Alaska:

Governing Agency
Medicaid
Website
http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dhcs/medicaid_medicare/default.htm
Phone Number
907-465-3347
Residency Requirements
Alaska residents
Federal Poverty Line Income Limits
Family Income – up to 185% of FPL
Working Disabled – 250% of FPL
Additional Resources

Alaska Health Care Options Matrix™ Guide
Provided by the Foundation for Health Coverage Education, the guide is a quick reference guide prepared by the non-profit Foundation for Health Coverage Education that outlines Alaska’s public and private health care choices for individuals and groups with various demographic profiles.
Family Health Insurance Guide by HealthInsuranceFinders.com
The guide created by HealthInsuranceFinders.com provides useful information regarding health insurance coverage such as individual/family health insurance, group health insurance, separate child health insurance and state-sponsored programs that are available for low to middle income families.
Alaska: At-A-Glance
Provides all-inclusive health data of Alaska. Statehealthfacts.org is a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and is designed to provide free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data on all 50 states.