Alaskans are asking about Obamacare repeal impacts

Published: Jan. 12, 2017 at 6:04 PM AKST
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Alaskans continue to sign up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Market place in numbers set to exceed last year, yet they're asking about the impacts of recent Obamacare repeal efforts.

Enroll Alaska in Anchorage helps people sign up for plans or renew if they enrolled the previous year. It reports more than 18,000 Alaskans had enrolled in December with another month remaining in the open enrollment period. “I would envision that if the projections continue that we would beat that enrollment number, we would exceed that,” said Vice President Aimee Crocker.

On Thursday a simple majority of the U.S. Senate took the initial step toward repealing Obamacare and Alaskans are wondering how it effects them. Senate republicans argue Obamacare is failing after double digit percent increases to insurance plans and the loss of providers in the marketplace. Alaska has just one, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“Definitely there will be changes, what that looks like we’re really not sure but overall we at Enroll Alaska are here to help those individuals in Alaska,” said Crocker. She says healthcare plans should be unaffected through the end of 2017, “Your coverage isn’t going to be gone tomorrow.”

United Way Health Care Navigator Jane Straight is also getting questions about the impact of the repeal effort, “Sure I think people do occasionally ask but of course we don’t know any more than anyone else does. We are just here to say right now there’s an open enrollment period going on,” said Straight.

The open enrollment period ends on January 31st.

Enroll Alaska say 27,400 Alaskans now have health insurance through Medicaid since the program was expanded in September 2015.

It’s unclear what if any portions of the Affordable Care Act will be kept, including insurance for those with pre-existing conditions, subsidies, Medicaid expansion and mandated plans.

“Whatever are the next steps we’re on that road together,” said Crocker.