Legislation could subsidize health insurance plans

    Taxes raised on insurance policies in Alaska could soon be re-invested in the health insurance market, if a measure passed by the House on Monday finds favor in the Senate.

    Taxes raised on insurance policies in Alaska could soon be re-invested in the health insurance market, if a measure passed by the House on Monday finds favor in the Senate.

    HB 374 would spend $55 million on subsidizing some health insurance plans in order to prop up the ailing market.

    Insurance providers have long been asking for sharp raises in premiums, but the State Division of Insurance has only approved more moderate increases. The state now has just one health insurance provider: Premera, with the other three companies leaving Alaska since the Affordable Care Act opened plans for enrollment in 2013.

    The problem centers around the relatively small population in the 49th state, with fewer young, healthy policy holders supporting the cost of claims.

    Lawmakers justified the bailout, saying if Premera were to follow the other insurers out of Alaska, the state would have few options other than setting up a public insurance program.

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