Annie Feidt, APRN - Anchorage
afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8443 | About Annie
The largest health insurer in Alaska is likely to get a lot bigger next year. Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of two insurance companies that will offer plans on the new federally run marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. The company is expecting to serve thousands more customers in the state, but that growth will come with the kind of uncertainty the insurance industry has never had before.
Does Arkansas have a health care solution that would work in Alaska? The state’s Health and Social Services Commissioner, Bill Streur, is looking into that. Arkansas wants to use federal Medicaid expansion money under the Affordable Care Act to enroll people in private plans on its health insurance exchange.
On October first, the federal government is scheduled to have its health insurance marketplace up and running in Alaska under the Affordable Care Act. If you’re not sure exactly what a health care marketplace is, you’re not alone. So, on Thursday, the Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Susan Johnson, announced grants to two organizations to help Alaskans figure out how to use the new marketplace.
Dawn Dillard never wanted to retire. The 57-year-old expected to keep working as a public advocacy lawyer until she turned 100, but last year, a diagnosis of uterine cancer forced her into retirement. Now her full time job is fighting terminal cancer. And she says even if the disease kills her, she doesn’t want it to defeat her.
The U.S. women’s cross country ski team has never won an Olympic medal. But that could change in Sochi, Russia this winter. Leading the way is Alaska Pacific University skier Kikkan Randall, the best sprint skier in the world. Summer training usually involves giving up on snow, but the U.S. women have a secret weapon as they prepare for Sochi – APU’s Eagle Glacier training camp.
The state is prosecuting the largest Medicaid fraud case in its history. The Medicaid fraud division filed charges today (Tuesday) against 28 personal care attendants, who take care of elderly and disabled people in their homes. It’s part of a state effort to crack down on Medicaid fraud.
Four pediatric residents got their first taste of Alaskan style medicine this spring. It’s part of a new partnership based at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital to create an unusual type of medical residency. The doctors will spend one third of their three year training in Alaska. The program is designed to help recruit more pediatricians to stay in the state after the graduate.
The state is keeping a tight lid on a study it commissioned last year on expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The expansion would provide health care coverage to about 40 thousand low income Alaskans. The federal government would pay most of the bill. Governor Sean Parnell has decided not to expand Medicaid, for now. The study it won’t release is meant to inform the Governor on whether to reconsider that position.
Only two health insurers have applied to be part of Alaska’s federally run health insurance marketplace. The marketplaces are required under the Affordable Care Act and will allow individuals and small groups to compare health plans and qualify for subsidies to help pay for them.
Patients have a difficult time getting information on hospital costs. And the doctors who work in those hospitals are no different. They rarely know the hospital charges they generate for patients when they perform procedures. But last year, two of the largest pediatric groups in Anchorage discovered what Alaska Regional Hospital is charging for a simple infant procedure. And they decided to take a quiet stand against a fee they feel is unreasonably high.
The ice jam that is causing devastating flooding in the Yukon River community of Galena is slowly starting to break up. National Weather Service Hydrologist Ed Plumb says he first saw signs it was crumbling late this morning. He says this afternoon, large pieces were starting to break off the front of the ice jam.
A group of friends in Anchorage is hosting a series of bone marrow registry drives for a local doctor who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Lukemia in March.
Doctors deal with death all the time. But they still struggle to tell a patient they’re dying or help them live with a terminal disease. A specialty called Palliative Care is trying to change that. It’s been around since the 1990s. But a lot of people, even in the medical profession, still don’t know it exists.
How much does a hospital charge for a certain procedure? That information can be difficult for consumers to access before they get a bill in the mail. Now for the first time, the federal government is publicly sharing what hospitals bill Medicare for the 100 most common procedures. The information shows hospitals across the country, and across Alaska, charge dramatically different prices for the same procedure.
There are more questions than answers about the problems facing fisheries in Cook Inlet. And scientists working on those problems are chronically short on time and funding. But a new fisheries program at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage has students tackling some important research questions. And it isn’t just graduate students doing the work, under grads are getting their feet wet doing real science too.
Dozens of kids in Anchorage got the chance to fly off the ski jumps at Hilltop ski area this winter. The ski jumping program has expanded rapidly in the last three years. And the U.S. Ski team is now eyeing Anchorage as a spot to develop young athletes for their successful Nordic combined program, a sport that mixes ski jumping and cross country skiing. A U.S. ski team coach was in the city last week to offer his guidance and encourage young kids to give the sport a try.
Several Alaskans were near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded in the crowded finish area. No Alaskans are known to be among the three people who were killed and the more than 100 others who were injured. Identifications of those victims have not yet been released.
Alaska’s federally run health insurance exchange is supposed to be ready to enroll participants on October 1st. But with that deadline less than six months away, insurance companies and the state’s division of insurance say they have little information on what the online insurance marketplace will look like.
The National Weather Service is downgrading it’s forecasted snow amounts for the latest April storm to hit the Anchorage area.