Premera to invest $50M of tax refunds in Alaska

Photo courtesy MGN Online Image Id: 353462<br />11/22/2016
Photo courtesy MGN Online Image Id: 353462<br />11/22/2016(KMVT)
Published: Mar. 12, 2018 at 6:16 PM AKDT
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Alaska’s only remaining health insurance provider on the individual market will invest $50 million in the state over the next four years, the company announced on Monday.

Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield says the money will come from a hefty tax refund from the federal government. The company expects to receive about $390 million over that four year period.

Some of the money slated for Alaska will be used to offer premium rebates to Premera’s individual and group customers. About $1.5 million has been allocated for rebates to the company’s large group customers in Alaska.

Premera says some money will also be invested in telemedicine programs for rural communities and mental health programs focused on issues like addiction and homelessness.

Premera has been the only individual health insurance provider in Alaska since last year, when its only remaining competitor, Moda Health, left the state's individual market due to financial struggles.

“We're making the announcement that we're committed to being here through 2019,” said Lynn Rust Henderson, vice president of group sales at Premera Alaska. “That layers on top of the fact that we believe in the state of Alaska being here, providing the various solutions whether you're in the individual market, the employer market, small group market, large group market or self-funded employers, we're here to provide solutions for all of those employers and individuals.”

Editor's Note: a previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Moda Health withdrew from Alaska. It has been corrected to say the company withdrew from the state's individual medical market but continues to offer individual dental plans and employer-based coverage in Alaska.