Moda to leave the Alaska individual marketplace

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Moda announced today they will be leaving the individual market in Alaska in 2017.

In an interview with State of Reform to be released later today, Moda’s Director of Alaska Sales and Service, Jason Gootee said that Moda “suffered significant financial losses in the individual market last year.”  Gootee said this move was intended to shore up the rest of Moda’s lines of business in Alaska.

According to one report, Moda lost $65m company-wide in 2015.

It is unclear when Moda will be able to re-enter the Alaska individual market.  Under HIPAA regulations, a plan that fails to renew an insurance product in an existing market cannot re-enter that market for a period of five years.

Moda’s action leaves only one plan in the individual market:  Premera BlueCross BlueShield.  In previous reporting, State of Reform reviewed Wyoming’s current status as the only state in the country with one plan on the exchange.

Plans have until May 11th to file product applications for the 2017 plan year.  Premera is expected to file, but they have also made clear they have no intention to lose money in the individual market indefinitely.

If Premera does not file to be in the individual market, it would likely mean the full collapse of the individual market in Alaska.

In a personal comment, Gootee pointed out the difficulty of making this decision.

“This was a very difficult a decision for us. We have participated in the Alaska health insurance market since 2004 with an office in downtown Anchorage, and offered individual products to Alaskans since 2006.  I live in Palmer, Alaska, graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and I have chosen to raise my family and work in Alaska.  I am committed to Alaska and Moda is committed to Alaska and our members here, but we could not justify either absorbing more significant financial losses in the individual medical market or simply passing on high costs to Alaska consumers.