November 1st, 2017 BY HealthNetwork
Residents in rural parts of The Last Frontier face extremely high costs for consumer goods compared to the rest of the country. Despite entering the union as a Democratic state, Alaska leans right and has traditionally supported Republican candidates for public office, particularly the presidency. The largest state by area and one of the lowest in population density, Alaska was one of the states to challenge the Affordable Care Act during its initial Supreme Court debacle, but the state also expanded Medicaid under Obamacare guidelines.
Enrollment through the Years
Alaska uses the federal marketplace for enrollment in Obamacare plans. Since 2015, the first year of recorded signups, the state has seen a decline in the number of people signing up for coverage through the marketplace.
- 21,260 Alaskans enrolled in 2015
- 23,029 Alaskans enrolled in 2016
- 19,145 Alaskans enrolled in 2017
In 2017, there were 6,286 new enrollees in an Obamacare marketplace plan. The remaining 12,859 people who signed up re-enrolled from the previous year. Political uncertainty surrounding and following the presidential election undoubtedly affected enrollment given the previous year’s jump in signup numbers. Exchange customers in Alaska tend to be older. The 55-64 demographic had the highest enrollment tally in 2017.
Alaska has also benefited from Medicaid expansion. Nearly 23,000 Alaskans were newly enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program due to ACA expansion guidelines.
Cost assistance is available to eligible enrollees who choose a plan on the marketplace, typically those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty limit. In 2017, 88 percent of people who enrolled in a marketplace plan in Alaska received cost assistance in the form of federal subsidies, reducing the monthly cost of premiums.
For certain enrollees – those earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty limit – cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) are also available if they choose a silver-level health plan. In 2017, 41 percent of Alaska exchange customers received CSRs.
Carrier Participation & Plan Availability
Alaskans have just one carrier option in the marketplace for 2018, the same number they had in 2017. Last year, there were 145 plans offered by this carrier across the state. This does not mean that every county in Alaska has the same options for health insurance. Plan availability varies by county even in states that only have one carrier.