What others say: Insurers need competition

Competition is healthy.

That one of only two companies offering individual health insurance policies to Alaskans is compelled by costs to exit that market is sickening.

Moda Health will leave the market to Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, effective Jan. 1.

But, what else can Moda do? It cannot afford to stay. It has about 14,000 individual members, and the cost of providing their insurance exceeds the amount the company collects in premiums.

The crux of the problem is high claim costs and a small Alaska market to meet the expense.

Increasing Alaska premiums won’t solve the problem; health insurance companies made a case and the state agreed to recent rate increases of up to 40 percent.

Moda isn’t entirely alone. Premera has experienced a similar problem with expenses in the individual market.

Gov. Bill Walker has proposed allowing the costliest claims to become part of all markets, effectively creating a larger pot to share the expense.

The concern is that that would increase the expense in other markets, and, in a state with a relatively small population, not really solve the high cost of premiums in Alaska.

States such as Alaska need a bigger market. That would entail knocking down commerce barriers between states by allowing health insurance companies to mix Alaskans in with all other Americans to determine premiums and share the expense in a greatly larger pool.

The effect would be increased competition and more opportunities for health insurance. Not only health insurance companies, but the consumer would benefit. As would the governments.

Alaskans should be able to acquire health insurance at affordable premiums in a competitive market.

—Ketchikan Daily News, May 7, 2016

More in Opinion

teaser
Opinion: The mobs widening America’s divisions

We’ve just been forced to deal with stark disagreements on a daily basis like never before.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Now is not the time to leave Alaskans out in the cold

Now is the perfect time for legislators to get in touch with their constituents and to act in their best interests.

New direction for the Tongass will help grow businesses, a sustainable economy

Now is the time to chart a new course for Southeast’s future.

Anselm Staack (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s fiscally irresponsible and deceptive plan

Constitutions are about broad policy objectives and legal boundaries — not about the day-to-day.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink promotes getting immunized with the flu shot this winter. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)
Immunize when you winterize

An annual flu shot plus the COVID-19 vaccine protects Alaskans and our health care system, too.

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s first act as governor was unconstitutional

That’s according to a ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John Sedwick.

This Aug. 3, 2021, photo shows Juneau International Airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration shared recommendations on Thursday for improving aviation safety in the state. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: How the FAA will improve the margin of aviation safety in Alaska

Alaska depends on aviation more than any other state…

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Perspective of an educator in a ‘high-risk’ group, part 2

During some of the darkest days of my time in ICU, it was obvious where we all live is a special place.

Lawmakers havereturned to the Alaska State Capitol for a fourth special session. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Revenues should be determined before more PFD spending

The governor believes the dividend drives the entire calculation. Sadly, he has it backwards

Ronnie Leach. (Photo provided)
Point of View: For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, #weareresilient

At the onset of COVID-19, we expanded our services in a way to ensure COVID-19 consciousness.

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion:Where’s Don Young when America needs him?

Once upon a time, avoiding political controversy was completely out of character for Young.

Peter Zuyus
Voices of the Peninsula: Seniors appreciate vaccination efforts

To those who have worked to encourage vaccination we say: Be proud, you are, in fact, saving lives.