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The American Rescue Plan's premium-cutting subsidies

Find out how the American Rescue Plan drastically cut marketplace health insurance costs for Alaska's enrollees, and how the Inflation Reduction Act extends the subsidy enhancements through 2025. Enroll now during open enrollment (through January 15 in Alaska).

Calculate your subsidy savings!

Short-term coverage in Alaska

Alaska allows short-term health insurance plans to be sold with initial durations up to 364 days. But only one insurer offers these plans in the state, and they cap them at 185 days. Learn more about short-term coverage options in Alaska.

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Short-term

Medicaid in Alaska

Alaska implemented the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid eligibility expansion in late 2015. Read our overview of Medicaid expansion in Alaska.

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Medicaid

Medicare enrollment in Alaska

As of 2022, more than 110,000 Alaskans were enrolled in Medicare coverage. Read more about Medicare enrollment in Alaska, including how the state addresses Medigap coverage for disabled beneficiaries under age 65.

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Medicare

Flexible dental benefits. Fast approval.

Protect yourself from the soaring costs of dental procedures. Compare plan options to see premiums and deductibles that fit your budget.

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Dental

Frequently asked questions about health insurance
coverage options in Alaska

Alaska’s health insurance marketplace is run by the federal government, and residents enroll via HealthCare.gov, or via an approved enhanced direct enrollment entity.

Alaska refused federal funding to create its own marketplace, and was one of the first states to announce it would leave responsibility for its marketplace in the hands of the federal government.

Learn more about Alaska’s health insurance marketplace.

The open enrollment period for individual/family health coverage runs from November 1 to January 15 in Alaska.

Outside of that open enrollment period, residents generally need a qualifying event in order to enroll in coverage or make a change to their plan. But Alaska Natives/Native Americans can enroll anytime, and so can subsidy-eligible applicants whose income doesn’t exceed 150% of the poverty level. Medicaid enrollment is also available year-round.

There are two insurance companies that offer coverage in the Alaska health insurance marketplace:

  • Premera
  • Moda Assurance

Premera was the only insurer offering coverage in Alaska’s individual market from 2017 through 2019. But the market is much more stable than it once was – largely as a result of the state’s new reinsurance program.

As a result of the more stable market environment, Moda returned to Alaska’s exchange in 2020 in the Anchorage area, and expanded their coverage area for 2021 to include Fairbanks North Star Borough, Ketchikan Gateway County, and Prince of Wales Hyder County. Premera’s plans continue to be available statewide.

For 2023, Alaska’s insurers have proposed an overall weighted average rate increase of nearly 19%. (That’s according to the federal rate review website; Alaska doesn’t publish rate filing data on SERFF until the plans take effect in January.) That follows a modest increase in 2022 and four years of declining rates prior to that.

Alaska used to have the highest premiums in the country, but that is no longer the case; four states have higher average premiums in 2022.

For 2021, Moda has proposed an average rate increase of 0.01% (ie, essentially unchanged). Premera’s proposed rates don’t show up on the federal rate review site (and Alaska doesn’t publish rate filing data on SERFF until the plans take effect in January). But Premera’s plans will continue to be available on the exchange as well.

During open enrollment for 2022 health coverage, 22,786 Alaskans enrolled.  Visit our marketplace overview for past enrollment totals.

While the ACA is credited with a sharp decline in the uninsured rate across the nation, the impact in Alaska started out more modest. Alaska’s uninsured rate dropped 2.8% during 2014 open enrollment period, from 18.9% to 16.1%.

Alaska expanded Medicaid coverage in September 2015, nearly two years after many other states had implemented Medicaid expansion. And the uninsured rate in the state had dropped to 12.6% by 2018, and to 12.2% by 2019. This was still well above the national average of 9.2% at that point.

As of 2022, there were more than 22,000 people enrolled in private health plans through the Alaska exchange. All of them had coverage for the ACA’s essential health benefits, and 85% were receiving premium subsidies that reduce their monthly premium costs. Nearly a quarter of the enrollees were also receiving cost-sharing reductions, which help to reduce out-of-pocket medical costs.

Enrollment in exchange/marketplace plans in Alaska peaked in 2016, with more than 23,000 people enrolling during the open enrollment period for 2016 coverage. Enrollment then declined each year through 2020, but increased to more than 18,000 during the open enrollment period for 2021 coverage, and rebounded to nearly the 2016 level during the open enrollment period for 2022 coverage. Enrollment growth in 2022 was driven in large part by the American Rescue Plan’s subsidy enhancements, which have been extended through 2025 by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Alaska’s three-member U.S. Congressional delegation voted 2-1 against the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, was alone in supporting the ACA. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, both Republicans, voted no. Former Gov. Sean Parnell opposed the overall ACA and spoke out strongly against a state-run exchange.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican who has talked about the need to repeal and replace Obamacare, defeated Begich in the 2014 election, resulting in a fully GOP Congressional delegation for Alaska. But Senator Murkowski famously joined GOP Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and John McCain (Arizona) in voting against a bill to repeal the ACA in 2017, effectively killing the ACA repeal efforts in the Senate. And in 2022, Mary Peltola, a Democrat, won the at-large House race after the death of Rep. Young earlier in 2022. 

Alaska is the only state that did not apply for the $1 million exchange-planning grant that was available from the federal government. State legislators considered a state-run exchange in the 2011 and 2012 sessions, but didn’t pass a bill either year. Governor Parnell announced in July 2012 that the state would default to the federally facilitated exchange.

Initially, Alaska did not adopt Medicaid expansion. Governor Bill Walker, an Independent, took office on December 1, 2014, and announced his intention to expand Medicaid within his first 90 days in office. Though it took a little more time, he succeeded and the state expanded Medicaid on September 1, 2015.

Alaska decided against Medicaid expansion for 2014, and a Kaiser Family Foundation study estimated 30,000 Alaska residents were excluded from coverage as a result.  But Gov. Bill Walker took office on Dec. 1, 2014, and made Medicaid coverage expansion a priority in his first months.

On July 16, 2015, Walker used his executive authority to expand Medicaid coverage on his own and Alaska Medicaid expansion took effect on September 1, 2015.

From late 2013 through May 2022, enrollment in Medicaid plans had grown by 113%. The state maintains a page that shows details about Medicaid expansion; as of August 2022, there were 71,415 Alaska residents covered under the ACA’s expanded Medicaid eligibility rules. That was up from about 48,000 in late 2019, mirroring the increase in Medicaid enrollment seen in many states as a result of the COVID pandemic.

Read our overview of Medicaid expansion in Alaska.

Alaska does not have state-specific regulations pertaining to the duration of short-term health insurance plans, so the state defaults to the federal short-term rules. Insurers are allowed to offer short-term plans with initial terms up to 364 days and the option to renew for a total duration of up to 36 months. But Moda is the only insurer that offers short-term plans in Alaska as of 2022, and they cap their plans at 185 days. 

Read more about short-term health insurance coverage in Alaska.

There were 110,360 Alaska residents enrolled in Medicare plans as of May 2022.

Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to Original Medicare, used by more than a third of Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. But in Alaska, there have historically been no individual Medicare Advantage plans for sale. As of 2022, however, there are two MSA Medicare Advantage plans for sale in much of the state. But Medicare Advantage still only covers about 2% of the state’s Medicare beneficiaries (many of whom have employer-sponsored Medicare Advantage plans), as most choose Original Medicare instead. 

Read more about Medicare enrollment in Alaska, including how the state approaches Medigap coverage for disabled beneficiaries under age 65.

Before the ACA reformed the individual health insurance market, coverage was underwritten in nearly every state, including Alaska. This meant that medical history was an important component of eligibility for a private individual plan, and people with pre-existing conditions often found themselves unable to purchase coverage, or only able to get a policy that excluded pre-existing conditions.

The Alaska Comprehensive Health Insurance Association (ACHIA) was created in 1993 to give people an alternative if they were unable to obtain individual health insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

As a provision of the ACA, all new health insurance policies became guaranteed issue starting on January 1, 2014. This reform largely eliminated the need for high-risk pools, but the pool is still operational, and serves as a way for disabled Medicare beneficiaries under the age of 65 to obtain supplemental coverage, as Medigap plans in Alaska do not have to make their plans available to enrollees under age 65.

But Alaska’s assessment on insurers to fund ACHIA is now used to fund the Alaska Reinsurance Program.

When it comes to health insurance in Alaska, we’re the voice of experience.

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Talking about health insurance since 1994.
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