Obamacare in Alaska

Obamacare-enrollment is a site where you can find detailed information on the Affordable Care Act

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Health Insurance Marketplace in Alaska

If you live in Alaska, you’ll use this website, HealthCare.gov, to apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll. Spanish language speakers can contact cuidadodesalud.gov. Specific plans and prices will be available on October 1, 2013, when Marketplace open enrollment begins. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2014.

The Insurance Exchange/Marketplace

What has been done, not been done, or left up to the federal government to do.

Establishing the Exchange in Alaska

On July 17, 2012, Governor Sean Parnell (R) announced that Alaska will not create a state-run health insurance exchange, and instead will allow the federal government to operate an exchange in the state.1 While a bill establishing an exchange was introduced in the 2011 legislative session and reconsidered in 2012, it failed to pass.
Prior to the announcement that the state would not operate its own exchange, Governor Parnell openly opposed exchange legislation and affirmed that if Alaska proceeded with developing a state-based exchange, it would use its own money.2,3 As such, the Alaska Health and Social Services Department hired a subcontractor to conduct background research, complete an overview of state options, and conduct a financial analysis of the costs of an exchange. The final report released in June 2012 was cited by the Governor in his decision not to proceed with a state-exchange.

Essential Health Benefits (EHB): The ACA requires that all non-grandfathered individual and small-group plans sold in a state, including those offered through the Exchange, cover certain defined health benefits. Since Alaska has not put forward a recommendation, the state’s benchmark EHB plan will default to the largest small-group plan in the state, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska- Alaska Heritage Select Envoy PPO.

Exchange Funding

Alaska is the only state that chose not to apply for the $1 million federal Exchange Planning grant. Instead, the state allocated $200,000 of its own funds for background research and analysis.5

Expansion of Medicaid

From 2014 to 2017, the federal government will pay for 100% of the difference between a state’s current Medicaid eligibility level and the ACA minimum. Federal contributions to the expansion will drop to 95% in 2017 and remain at 90% after 2020, according to the ACA.

As the ACA was originally written, states would lose all Medicaid funding if they refused to expand their program to the ACA minimum.

However, the Supreme Court in June 2012 ruled that the federal government could not withhold Medicaid funding for states that chose not to expand their programs. The decision effectively allowed state officials to opt out of the expansion, and some have said they will do just that.

Alaska is not participating in Medicaid expansion.

Next Steps

The federal government will assume full responsibility for running a health insurance exchange in Alaska beginning in 2014.


1. Press Release. Office of Governor Sean Parnell. July 17, 2012. http://www.gov.state.ak.us/parnell/press-room/full-press-release.html?pr=6195
2. Bohrer, B. “State moving ahead with health exchange plan” Associated Press. September 1, 2011.http://ap.peninsulaclarion.com/pstories/state/ak/20110901/879792853.shtml
3. Letter from Governor Parnell to Senator French. March 11, 2011:http://aksenate.org/27thpress/031411_Parnell_Letter_Exchanges.pdf
4. State of Alaska Department of Health and Social services Health Insurance Exchange Planning. Final Report. June 21, 2012. http://hss.state.ak.us/pdf/AKHealthExchangeReport2012.pdf
5. Feidt, Annie. ‘Alaska Takes Biggest Step Yet Toward Exchange.’ Kaiser Health News. February 14, 2012.http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2012/February/14/alaska-exchange.aspx

Also of interest

Provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Who can help you (the Navigators)

Get local help

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is a non-profit tribal health organization that will partner with each regional health corporation in Alaska that wishes to participate in outreach activities to raise public awareness of how the new insurance Marketplace impacts them and the healthcare system.

United Way of Anchorage

The Alaska Navigators Coalition is a group of non-profits, led by the United Way of Anchorage. They plan to do outreach to uninsured populations throughout Alaska to promote awareness of new health care options and facilitate the enrollment of individuals.

Who you can contact for more help

Information for:

Individuals and Families

Small businesses

If you need more detailed analysis, identification of issues, solutions, and implementation of your health insurance plan please let us know  with the form below and we’ll get right back to you.

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