Premera Alaska Allows 5,200 Customers To Keep Insurance Plans

Health Insurer Premera Alaska will allow 5,200 customers in the state to keep their insurance plans.

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The company canceled the plans for 2014 because they didn’t meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act. But earlier this month, after public outcry, President Obama said insurers could offer those canceled plans for another year, as long as states allowed it.

Premera spokesperson Melanie Coon says customers will have to extend their plans by December 31st:

“We’re planning to offer extensions to our members in Alaska. And right now we’re still finalizing the details with the division of insurance,” Coon said. “So we do have some details to work out, but we do plan on offering those extensions to our members.”

Premera says it will have more details on the insurance plan extensions soon, including whether rates will increase, as they normally would each year. Customers will also have the option of buying new coverage on the marketplace. That’s the only way to qualify for subsidies to help pay for insurance.

Enroll Alaska reports the website is slowly improving. The insurance brokerage has enrolled 78 Alaskans on the marketplace so far. Chief Operating Officer Tyann Boling says on a scale of 1-10, the website is functioning at about a four.

“Any type of complexity, the system does not function well at all with. And the challenge is Americans lives are complex,” Boling said.

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Annie Feidt is the Managing Editor for Alaska's Energy Desk, a collaboration between Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KTOO Public Media in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska. Her reporting has taken her searching for polar bears on the Chukchi Sea ice, out to remote checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail, and up on the Eklutna Glacier with scientists studying its retreat. Her stories have been heard nationally on NPR and Marketplace. Annie’s career in radio journalism began in 1998 at Minnesota Public Radio, where she produced the regional edition of All Things Considered. She moved to Anchorage in 2004 with her husband, intending to stay in the 49th state just a few years. She has no plans to leave anytime soon. afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8443 | About Annie