U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today continued his efforts to make Alaskans aware of the full range health insurance options available to them, including remaining on their current plan, by calling on Governor Sean Parnell to expedite the rate review process so Alaskans have the opportunity to review and understand all of their health coverage options.
Sen. Begich's request comes on the heels of an announcement by President Obama and the Alaska Division of Insurance to allow insurance carriers to file and extend policies until December 31. Alaskans must sign up for insurance by December 23 to ensure they are covered by January 1. Without a quick rate review by the Parnell Administration, Alaskans won't know their full range of options before December 23.
In a letter sent to Gov. Parnell, Begich writes:
" It is critically important that rates are reviewed quickly and carriers are notified as soon as possible of the Division's decision. Alaskans should have the opportunity to review and understand all of their health coverage options, including the plans being offered on the Marketplace that are more comprehensive, provide more security and may qualify for reduced monthly payments. Alaskans must be enrolled in these plans by December 23, 2013, to have coverage effective January 1. Therefore, it is critically important rates are reviewed immediately so issuers can communicate with their members as early as possible. Your recent decision to refuse to expand Medicaid to 40,000 Alaskans has created anxiety and uncertainty for many Alaskans. This is one simple step that could help bring peace of mind to some Alaskan families."
Sen. Begich recently introduced legislation, The Expanded Consumer Choice Act, to give Alaskans more choices when purchasing health care. The bill would create a tier of insurance called "copper plans" and would give consumers the choice of paying lower premiums if they are willing to pay more for out-of-pocket medical costs. Like all other plans offered in the exchange Marketplace, the copper plans would also cover the 10 services included as essential health benefits as required in the Affordable Care Act.