Alaska residents are a bit removed from the rest of the US, but residents still have several options for health care. According to a study by US News, AK has the 28th best health care in nation. That study looks at access, quality, and good public health.
Health insurance choices in Alaska
There are several ways for Alaskans to access health care in their state:
- From your employer
- Through your spouse's employer
Individual or family plans
- Through HealthCare.gov
- Directly from a health insurance company
Where do most Alaskans get their health insurance coverage?
|Individual or family||4%|
|Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population|
12 percent of AK residents are uninsured, higher than the national average. That’s not great for policyholders. Areas with a high rate of uninsured people have higher rates for insured people.
Alaska health insurance companies
Since Alaska is one of the least-populated states in America, there aren’t many companies offering health insurance in the state. In fact, only one company sells health insurance in AK. This provider offers both individual and family plans in your state:
- Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska
Alaska health insurance costs and rate factors
AK residents spend an average of $11,064 per year on health care, more than the national average. What determines health care costs in your state? Prices vary person to person, but depend mostly on these factors:
Health insurance plan type
Marketplace plans come in metal tiers: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The more coverage you want, the more you’ll have to pay.
How much are premiums in the Last Frontier? These are the average monthly prices for a middle-aged AK resident in 2020:
|Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Change in Average Marketplace Premiums by Metal Tier|
Surprisingly, research shows that a gold plan actually costs less than a silver plan. Gold plans cover 80 percent of costs, whereas silver plans cover 70 percent of costs.
You may also qualify for a catastrophic plan, the lowest level of coverage available in the insurance marketplace. Catastrophic plans have low monthly premiums and a yearly deductible of $8,150. Even with higher premiums, it may save you money to purchase a bronze or silver plan when you need to use your insurance.
Body mass index
A high body mass can increase your risk for serious health conditions, which is why insurers analyze your BMI to determine your risk-level. A high BMI leads to high insurance rates.
In 2018, AK had a 30 percent obesity rate, the 34th highest rate in the country. Of the state residents who used QuoteWizard to compare health insurance plans, 25 percent have a BMI in the obese range.
Smokers pay more for health care because of the high risks from tobacco use. About 19 percent of AK residents are smokers, the 35th lowest rate in the country.
Health insurance plans for an older person cost about three times more than for a younger person. AK residents who used QuoteWizard to shop for health insurance are, on average, 42 years old.
Your location also plays an important role in your prices. That’s because every state has their own health insurance laws, regulations, and providers.
Also, health insurance rates are community rated, which means your prices are based in part on the combined claims that everyone files. If your county or state files an abnormally high number of claims, your prices could soar.
That means how health-conscious your state is can influence your costs. According to America’s Health Rankings, Alaska is the 29th healthiest state in the country.
Alaska health insurance laws
The Affordable Care Act limits what providers can consider while pricing your policy.
- Pre-existing conditions: Insurance companies used to charge people with pre-existing conditions significantly more for coverage. Now, the ACA doesn’t allow providers to consider this factor while pricing your policy.
- Gender: The ACA limits companies from charging women and men different prices for the same plan. That’s good news, especially considering women historically pay more for health care.
- Insurance and medical history: Insurance companies also analyzed your medical history and your past insurance coverage. People with previous medical problems or lapses in insurance used to face steep premiums and had a hard time getting coverage in the first place.
There's a limit to how much you can pay out-of-pocket for a marketplace plan. In 2020, the out-of-pocket maximum is $8,150 for an individual plan and $16,300 for a family plan.
Alaska state law requires health insurance companies to offer at least some coverage for the following services:
- Maternity minimum stay
- Newborn care
- Treatment of alcoholism or drug abuse
- Emergency room care
- Newborn and infant hearing screening
- Clinical trials for cancer
There are additional services that providers need to offer coverage for. Find the entire list on cms.gov.
Medicare and Medicaid in Alaska
Medicare and Medicaid are both government-funded health care programs in AK. The programs cater to two different groups of people. Medicare offers coverage to seniors, whereas Medicaid helps low-income families and children.
State residents 65 and older qualify for affordable health care through the Medicare program. There are several coverage options within the program, including parts A, B, C, D, and supplemental coverage programs. Alaska residents may also qualify for a Medicare Savings Program:
- Single person with a monthly income lower than $1,814 and assets less than $7,860.
- Couple with a monthly income lower than $2,445 and assets less than $11,800.
Medicaid aids low-income families and children. These are the state’s Medicaid financial requirements:
|Household Size||Maximum Yearly Income|
Alaska Division of Insurance
- Insurance Commissioner:
- Lori Wing-Heier
- Insurance Hotline:
- (907) 269- 7900
- Office Hours:
- Monday - Friday
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
- File a Consumer Insurance Complaint
- Complaint Page
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