Alaska individual health plan rates to decrease in 2019

For the second consecutive year, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska has asked the state for an average rate decrease across individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act, the company announced today.

Premera filed with the state’s Division of Insurance for an average rate decrease of 3.9 percent for its 2019 individual metallic plans. The state last year approved an average rate decrease of 22.4 percent for individual plans covering 2018. Together, the decreases equate to an average reduction in monthly premiums from $1,043 in 2017 to $770 in 2019.

Nearly 85 percent of Alaskans who purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act receive government subsidies, greatly reducing their out-of-pocket costs. Nearly 20,000 Alaskans purchase their health insurance on the individual market.

“Among the factors contributing to lower rates are decreases in the use of medical services, the continued stability of the state’s individual insurance market and the state’s reinsurance program,” said Jim Grazko, President and General Manager of Premera’s Alaska office.

Approved in 2016, the Alaska Reinsurance Program is a state-operated program that covers claims in the individual market for people with one or more of 33 identified high-cost conditions.

“While I am hopeful rates can continue to stabilize, it is important to note that the Alaska market remains difficult to predict due to its small size and the fact that more than 30 percent of individual market participants enter and leave the individual market each year,” Grazko said.

This press release was provided by Premera Blue Cross.