The Affordable Care Act and Open Enrollment 2018

This year’s open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be shorter— November 1–December 15, 2017—and there will be less federal support to help individuals needing health insurance coverage in the health insurance marketplace. ASHNHA is encouraging Alaska hospitals to engage in their local communities to support open enrollment outreach and education.

Since the passage of the ACA in 2010, Alaska has seen a decrease in the uninsured rate.

  • Alaska has had a 46% reduction in the uninsured rate from 2013 to 2015.
  • More than 36,000 Alaskans have been covered by Medicaid expansion.
  • 19,145 people enrolled in insurance plans through the health insurance marketplace during the 2017 open enrollment period and 93 percent of enrollees received premium subsidies.

The Alaska health care community has played and continues to play an important role in providing education, outreach, and advocacy for health insurance coverage for all Alaskans. ASHNHA’s goal is to work collaboratively with other organizations and to support member hospitals and health systems in helping consumers access health coverage.

Resources for Hospitals & Consumers

Free local help from health care navigators is available in Alaska. Contact the following:

United Way of Anchorage Call 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221 to talk to a navigator or schedule an appointment

Alaska Primary Care Association – Get Covered Alaska Helpline: 1-844-PLANSAK, Contact a local community health center.

Tips for hospital staff

  • Make sure key staff are informed about this year’s open enrollment timeframe—this includes financial aid representatives, outreach staff, and administrative staff in hospital emergency departments, outpatient clinics, primary care centers and any other setting where staff may come into contact with individuals who are uninsured.
  • Partner with other local stakeholders to educate and inform the community about this year’s open enrollment timeframe and support enrollment
  • Use the following consistent messaging in newsletters, website, social media, and community outreach:
    • The federal health insurance marketplace is still available for individuals needing health coverage. Congress has not made any substantive changes and the ACA law has not been repealed. Having health coverage is critical to getting and staying healthy and protecting against unanticipated illnesses or
    • Financial help is available to Alaskans to reduce the cost of their insurance and their out-of-pocket expenditure.
    • Premium costs have gone down for 2018 health plans available to Alaskans through Premera.
    • Individuals only have until December 15 to change health plans or newly enroll. With a shorter deadline and changes that plans will be making, it is imperative that consumers shop early and seek assistance, if
    • Most Alaska consumers are eligible for financial help.
    • All consumers, new and renewing, should return to the Marketplace during open enrollment to explore their options and enroll in health coverage. Plan and prices change every year, but it’s more important than ever to make sure the plan you had in 2017 is still right for 2018.
    • Encourage consumers to go to gov to learn more. Financial help in the form of premium tax credits is only available through healthcare.gov.
    • Free in-person help is still available to help people understand their options and enroll in coverage. People can call 1-844-PLANSAK or go getcoveredalaska.org to find free local help.

Radio Talk Show on open enrollment

With so many uncertainties surrounding healthcare, it can be easy to forget there are some new positives this year including lower rates. Jessie Menkens and John Zasada from Alaska Primary Care Association answered questions on a recent Alaska Public Media show. Listen and share!

For more information contact Jeannie Monk, Vice President, Policy and Programs at [email protected] or 907-586-1790.