Alaska's Role in Regulating Health Insurance

At a recent presentation to the Alaska Health Commission, Alaska Division of Insurance Director Linda Hall described the state’s role in regulating health care in Alaska.

Created by an actuary at the Alaska Division of Insurance by the request of a legislator, the graph below describes the breakdown of health insurance by type and is a basis for discussion regarding the role of the state government in regulating the industry.

 

AK Insurance By Market Type

Alaska State Division of Insurance

 

The yellow 15% is the private insurance market which is under direct oversight of the state. This part of the insurance market is governed by the laws and regulations of the state and is the only piece of the pie that can be influenced by those factors.  The larger self insured market, at 34%, lies outside of that jurisdiction. The self insured market covers large employers like Alaska Airlines and Wal-Mart where the state is
pre-empted from regulating due to Federal laws.  In the words of Linda Hall, Director of the Alaska Division of Insurance:

“When we pass state laws it does not impact that group… when we talk about mandates, who do they apply to, they only apply to that little yellow slice of the pie.”

According to Hall, understanding this difference is essential in understanding the state’s role in regulating the health insurance industry.

Of the remaining insurance sectors, only Medicaid has regulations in the state, but it is done under a different set of laws and regulations that aren’t addressed through the rate review process.

“When were passing laws to mandate anything, whether it is notification, coverage mandates, whatever it may be, it doesn’t  impact the majority of the Alaska population.”

For more information:  Alaska Division of Insurance

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