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Sign-up for marketplace health coverage picks up pace

Image Courtesy of The Atlantic

The window to sign up for healthcare through Alaska’s insurance marketplace may be smaller this year, but Alaskans seem to be aware of the deadline to get healthcare coverage. About 2,000 more people have signed up in the first month of the enrollment period compared to last year.

Jessie Menkens works for the Alaska Primary Care Association, which helps guide people outside of the Anchorage area through the application process.

Menkens said the pace of enrollment is up, but she notes that roughly 12,000 people need to sign up in the next 10 days in order to maintain the state’s risk pool.

“Approximately 19,000 were enrolled last year through open enrollment, and that was an open enrollment period that lasted three months. This year we’re now looking at a six-week timeframe with which to help facilitate this enrollment and education work across the state,” Menkens explained. “We’ve had a great level of participation thus far, but we are certainly working here to help bring back that entire group to be participating this year.”

Menkens was in Homer Monday helping workers at the Seldovia Village Tribe Clinic sign Homer-area residents up for health coverage.    

Monica Anderson is an outreach and enrollment coordinator for SVT and said that residents can call the clinic for help with the application process.

“Just trying to education people. We’re here to assist, and that deadline is looming and you really don’t know until you go through that application,” Anderson said.

Alaska’s sole marketplace insurer decreased 2018’s rates by 20 percent due to a subsidy program paid for by the state and federal government, which may make plans for some more affordable.

Anderson adds that people who have their current coverage set up to automatically renew should also evaluate their plans.

“Everyone should just kind of take charge, especially if they’ve been re-enrolled, making sure that coverage is still something that’s still a good fit for them or their family for the upcoming 2018 coverage year,” she said.

The deadline to sign up for coverage is Dec. 15. Southern peninsula residents can set up appointments with SVT coordinators by calling 226-2228. 

Aaron Bolton has moved on to a new position in Montana; he is no longer KBBI News Director. KBBI is currently seeking a News Director, and Kathleen Gustafson is filling in for the time being.