With life becoming extremely unpredictable it is risky to live without having proper health coverage. Just one trip to the hospital is enough to create havoc on your financial condition. Besides, with so many health insurance options available throughout Alaska, there is no way you should take the risk. As Alaska residents, you are offered plenty of health insurance options to consider. Some of the ways through which you can obtain health coverage are through the Alaska exchange, employer’s sponsored plan, government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, from a private insurer, or through comprehensive health insurance portals.
No matter whether you work for yourself or need Affordable Care Act-compliant health plans, finding the right and cheap health insurance in Alaska is no more a task. Alaska is a U.S state having one of the smallest populations with just 700,000 residents. nearly half of Alaska’s residents obtain coverage through their employers and one in five people in the state obtain coverage through a government program, Medicaid, and one in ten people in the state receive coverage through Medicare and one in 20 residents obtain health coverage through ACA-compliant health plans.
To help you navigate through Alaska’s health insurance landscape and find the best health plan, find below an overview of Alaska’s health insurance.
2021 Open Enrollment Period in Alaska
The 2021 open enrollment period in Alaska runs from November 1 to December 15 for the health insurance coverage that starts on January 1. You should know that you need to re-enroll in a health plan during the open enrollment period every year to avoid a break in your coverage. If you don’t apply for a health plan during the open enrollment period, then you will not be able to apply for a plan until the next year’s open enrollment period. Only a qualifying life event triggers a brief special enrollment period during which residents of the state can enroll in a health plan.
How to Enroll in Alaska’s Health Insurance Marketplace
If you are looking to enroll in an ACA-compliant health insurance plan, then you may possibly qualify for subsidies on enrolling through Alaska’s Health Insurance Marketplace that run through the federal government. You can use healthcare.gov to apply and enroll in health insurance coverage. Enrollment in an ACA-plan will provide you ten essential health benefits that include coverage for prescription drugs, inpatient hospital care, and preventive care.
Cost of Health Insurance in Alaska
The health plans available on and off the exchange in the Alaska Marketplace are organized by metal tiers such as gold, silver, and bronze. The health insurance premiums for the qualified gold and bronze plans have reduced more than 17% in the last two years while the premium cost for the silver plans has remained the same. Find below the table depicting the average monthly costs of gold, silver, and bronze plans for a 40-year old person in the last three years:
|Lowest Cost Bronze Plan||$540.00||$472.00||$448.00|
|Lowest Cost Silver Plan||$699.00||$701.00||$698.00|
|Lowest-cost Gold Plan||$779.00||$672.00||$636.00|
The second-lowest-cost silver plan premium for a 40-year old is used as a benchmark plan by the federal government to calculate subsidies.
Coverage Options for Low-Income Individuals in Alaska
If your income falls between one and four times the federal poverty level, then chances are that you may qualify for subsidies that will help you pay your premiums. In the year 2019, 9 out of 10 ACA enrollees in Alaska received subsidies called Advanced Premium Tax Credits. The benefits of subsidies can be understood with the help of some examples.
A 28-year old individual earning $24,000 a year can obtain a silver plan for as low as $86 per month after subsidies that otherwise would cost $612 per month without the premium tax credits.
A family of three having an annual income of $50,000 a year can obtain a silver plan in 2020 by paying a monthly premium of $246 per month after the subsidies that otherwise would cost $1,548 per month without the premium tax credits.
If your income is between 100% and 250% of the Federal Poverty Level then you can purchase a silver plan on the Marketplace and receive premium tax credits and may also qualify for cost-sharing reductions that will further reduce your out-of-pocket costs. 26% of the enrollees in Alaska Marketplace plans received cost-sharing reductions in the year 2019.
If you are low-income Alaskans, then you may also be eligible for the Medicaid program, which is the primary public program designed for basic health and long-term care services for low-income children, families, pregnant women, adults without dependent children in the age group of 19 to 64 years, elderly, blind, and permanently disabled. One in three Alaskans were either enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program as of March 2020. Recipients of CHIP and Medicaid need to meet income requirements as a percentage of the federal poverty level. The percentage of the federal poverty level for different groups are:
- For a parent, it is 138% of the federal poverty level.
- For childless adults, it is 138% of the federal poverty level.
- For pregnant women, it is 205% of the federal poverty level.
- For children, it is 208% of the federal poverty level.
- For disable seniors, it is 74% of the FPL.
The Medicaid program in Alaska includes:
This program provides coverage to both children and adults that include pregnant women meeting income eligibility standards.
Chronic and Acute Medical Assistance
It is a state-funded program designed for Alaskans belonging to the age group of 21 to 65 years and who do not qualify for Medicaid but need help with one or more specific illnesses.
Children’s Health Insurance Program
Medicaid program was expanded in Alaska to cover uninsured children up to the age of 19 years, whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
Health Insurers offering Individual Health Plans in Alaska
Two health insurance companies are selling individual health plans for 2021 to Alaskans through healthcare.gov. The two carriers, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska and Moda Assurance are offering individual policies to Alaska. Blue Cross offers statewide coverage while Moda Assurance offers coverage in limited locations.