New ISER report: How do Alaskans cover their medical bills?

by Michelle Saport  |   

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been at the top of the news lately, with Congress considering but then dropping proposed changes. Congress will try again to change the ACA-but it's uncertain how or when. A new overview by Linda Leask, Rosyland Frazier and Jessica Passini of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) brings together information from many sources to describe health care coverage Alaskans have now, and how ACA provisions have changed that coverage. Among other things, they report:

  • Nearly 25 percent of Alaskans-about 176,000-are covered by Medicaid in 2017. Close to 85,000 of those are children, and another 30,000 are single, low-income adults who became eligible when the state expanded its Medicaid program under terms of the ACA.
  • About 90 percent of the 18,000 Alaskans who carried individual policies they bought through the ACA marketplace in 2016 had federal subsidies either for premiums, or both premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The remaining 10 percent had incomes too high to qualify for subsidies. The subsidized premium for a family of four in 2017 was $316 a month. The unsubsidized premium was $2,750.
  • Employer-based health insurance remains the most common insurance for Alaskans, covering more than half. But the share of small businesses offering insurance has been dropping-in Alaska, from 30 percent in 2010 to 27 percent by 2015, and nationally from 39 percent to 29 percent.
  • Alaskans with Medicare are less likely to be poor than the average Medicare enrollee. About 25 percent of Alaskans with Medicare have incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, compared with 35 percent in the U.S. as a whole.

The Harold E. Pomeroy Public Policy Endowment supported this research. Download the report at the ISER website.

If you have questions, call Linda Leask, ISER's editor, at (907) 786-5425.

Creative Commons License "New ISER report: How do Alaskans cover their medical bills?" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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