Annie Feidt, APRN - Anchorage
afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8443 | About Annie
On the campaign trail, Bill Walker made expanding the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act one of his top priorities. And he’s confident he could make the decision without input from the state legislature.
“It’s up to the Governor to accept that.”
But when Walker takes office next month, will it really be so easy to expand a program that has been a tough sell in other conservative states?
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Healthcare.gov was working smoothly in Alaska this weekend for the start of open enrollment. Enroll Alaska reported Friday that the site was miscalculating the subsidy amounts for Alaskans looking for health insurance in “window shopping” mode. But the company said it had signed up 40 people on Saturday- the first day the site was live- with no apparent problems.
November 15th marks the start of the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, when individuals can sign up for coverage on healthcare.gov. But even before it opens for business, there are signs the website isn’t working correctly for Alaskans.
The three month open enrollment period for the federal health care exchange begins this Saturday, November 15th. The two insurers offering plans on healthcare.gov in Alaska have very different projections on how many more Alaskans will sign up for coverage for 2015.
Surgeons these days have a lot of futuristic tools at their disposal in the operating room. They use robots, high definition cameras and special dyes to help them complete complicated procedures. And you don’t have to travel to big cities in the Lower 48 to find the most up to date operating room technology.
The State’s Medicaid Reform Advisory Group has met for the last six months in relative obscurity. That changed today (Wednesday) when more than 200 parents, doctors and physical therapists showed up to testify about a list of proposed “innovations” the group hopes will help curtail the growing cost of program. The message the group heard was that the reforms would have huge impacts on the people who rely on Medicaid for health services.
When Alaskans vote for governor on Nov. 4, they’ll also be deciding the fate of Medicaid expansion in the state. Incumbent Governor Sean Parnell has said he won’t expand the federal health insurance program under the Affordable Care Act. But his opponent, Independent candidate Bill Walker says if elected, he will immediately accept the federal money.
Federal health officials announced today that the first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the U.S. in Texas. The patient, who traveled from Liberia, is being treated in isolation at a hospital in Dallas. Public health officials in Alaska are prepared to respond if Ebola arrives in the state.
The open enrollment period for signing up for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act begins November 15th. Customers in Alaska who don’t receive subsidies will have to pay dramatically higher rates for next year’s coverage. And one insurer on the exchange- Premera Alaska, says the state needs to implement a new program to ensure future rate increases aren’t as steep.
Alaska will spend more than $700 million on Medicaid this year. State officials say Medicaid costs are increasing at an unsustainable rate. What would reforming the program look like to keep costs under control?
APRN: Tuesday, 9/30 at 10:00am
A magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit Southcentral Alaska at 9:51 this morning. Michael West directs the Alaska Earthquake Center in Fairbanks. He says the epicenter was about 60 miles Northwest of Anchorage and 60 miles underground.
Alaskans who buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace will see a significant rate hike for next year. The state Division of Insurance says consumers can expect to pay an increase of more than 30 percent on average for coverage.
An investigation released Thursday details a long list of failures in how the Alaska National Guard handles reports of sexual assault and other matters. In response to the findings, Governor Sean Parnell asked for the resignation of National Guard Major General Thomas Katkus, effective immediately.
Most Americans are supposed to have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But up to 50,000 Alaska Natives and American Indians in Alaska are excused from the requirement. They have to apply for that lifetime exemption though. And the federal government is mishandling many of those applications.
EHR, ICD-10 and PQRS may sound like alphabet soup to you. But most doctors around the country know exactly what those acronyms stand for. They are programs championed by the federal government to improve quality and bring medicine into the electronic age. But in Alaska, where small medical practices are the norm, the new requirements can be a heavy burden.
More than 11,000 Alaskans are getting refunds from their health insurance companies. As part of the Affordable Care Act, companies have to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on medical care and wellness. If they don’t hit that target, they are required to send refunds to customers.
The state’s largest personal use fishery is happening on the Kenai river. Dipnetters from across the state are crowding onto the north and south beaches at the mouth of the river hoping to fill coolers with sockeye salmon.
The Governor’s office may sue Xerox Corporation for the bungled rollout of a new system to process Medicaid claims.
A federal wildlife technician got a rare treat in Prince William Sound yesterday (Weds). Marty Reedy was driving a boat for a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seabird and marine mammal survey when a colleague pointed out a seal that didn’t look quite right. Reedy, who has also worked in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas knew immediately what the animal was- a ribbon seal.