According to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, health services in Alaska are 70 – 200 percent more expensive than the national average. Many pressures influence Alaska’s health-care costs. They include expenses related to recruiting providers from out of state, lack of competition, the state’s small population.
In 2016, Alaska passed a law which set up a $55 million fund for the Alaska Reinsurance Program (ARP), financed through an existing tax on all insurance companies, to subsidize enrollees’ costs as the state struggles with Obamacare price spikes. Alaska Governor Bill Walker said the program would ensure that the 23,000 Alaskans enrolled in exchange plans would not suddenly lose their insurance. The state also received CMS approval for federal passthrough to partially finance the ARP, which would fully or partially reimburse insurers for incurred claims for high-risk enrollees diagnosed with certain health conditions.
In recent legislative terms, Alaska sought legislative solutions to skyrocketing healthcare costs in terms of price transparency and cost containment. Most notably, the legislature made repeated attempts to establish an all-payer claims database (APCD). The legislature also continued to introduced bills that would create a shared savings incentive program that encourages patients to become active consumers and to actively shop for the most competitive prices for care. Other price transparency measures propose to limit how much an insurance company must reimburse an out-of-network provider for covered services and would require providers and medical facilities to disclose the undiscounted costs of their most common procedures.
See below for an overview of existing Alaska state mandates. Click on citation tab for detailed information of specific statutes (click link to download statute text).
Latest Legislative Session: 1/19/2021 - 4/19/2021 (2021-2022 term). *Current session bill updates are ongoing. Check back weekly for updates.
Alaska budgets on an annual budget cycle with the fiscal year beginning July 1stand ending June 30th. The governor will submit his or her proposed budget to the state legislature by December 15 and the legislature will adopt a budget by simple majority in April. To view Alaska’s budget for the latest fiscal year, click here.
REGULATION & ENFORCEMENT
- In April 2017, Department of Justice and the FTC issued a joint statement regarding proposed legislation repealing the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws. The agencies recommended that Alaska repeal its CON laws, which require healthcare providers to obtain state approval before expanding, establishing new facilities or services, or making certain large capital expenditures.