Moda’s reentry gives Alaskans two ACA choices

State is cautiously optimistic about more enrollees in 2020

Moda Assurance Co. has reentered the individual health care market for Alaskans under the Affordable Care Act, giving residents a new option in addition to Premera.

After Moda opted out of the program at the end of 2016, Alaskans were left with Premera as the only provider.

According to the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Moda plans to enter the market on Jan. 1, 2020, offering plans at healthcare.gov.

There are 18,602 Alaskans enrolled for ACA coverage, including 16,608 on the bronze, silver and gold plans.

Another 1,150 people are grandfathered in because they registered before 2010, along with 844 considered transitional for enrolling between 2010 and 2014.

The ACA allowed people enrolled previously to keep their plans if they enrolled prior to 2014.

Some transitional and grandfathered in participants did move to an ACA plan if their plan was discontinued or they wanted the Essential Health Benefits of the ACA, said Lori Wing-Heier, director of the state Division of Insurance. 

“At some point both the transitional and grandfathered plans will all be in an ACA plan, but I expect that is a few years out yet,” Wing-Heier said.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we will see an increase in enrollees in 2020,” she said.

The Division of Insurance cannot comment on the rate or form filing that was submitted by any insurer until the effective date, which in the case of Moda Assurance is Jan. 1.

Wing-Heier said that while she doubts there will be significant differences in the forms, consumers should carefully shop their health care insurance to see that they are purchasing the product that best fits their personal circumstances, because there will be some differences.
From 2014 through 2016 Alaskans had a choice between Moda and Premera, but since 2017 Premera has been the only insurer offering individual market plans in Alaska.

In 2014, according to healthinsurance.org, Premera had 58 percent of the individual market in Alaska, Moda had 36 percent and the other six percent were distributed across Time, Celtic and Aetna. In 2015, Permera’s market share fell to 43 percent, and Moda’s rose to 51 percent. Then in early 2016 Moda suffered financial losses and dwindling capital reserves so the company could no longer sell or renew policies in the individual market in Alaska.

More details on the history of Alaska in the ACA program are online at healthinsurance.org/alaska-state-health-insurance-exchange/#approval.