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With health insurance marketplace deadline approaching fast, Alaska is relying on the federal government. As one of the 27 states that will be utilizing the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, Alaska needs to concentrate on educating residents about the marketplace and promoting general knowledge about the program.

The state is relying on the health exchange navigator role. Health insurance marketplace navigators platform are a group of trained individuals who will be responsible for guiding residents on enrollment and selecting plans within the exchange. The United Way of Anchorage and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium will each receive a $300,000 federal grant for the hiring and training of navigators.

The state is one of the highest in regard to the number of least insured residents. A recent study by the Society of Actuaries states that 20.6 percent of the state’s population doesn’t have health insurance. With the implementation of the exchange, the percentage of uninsured residents is expected to drop to just over 8 percent.

The state’s Division of Insurance has approved two health insurance providers – Premera Blue Cross and Moda Health – to sell plans on the exchange. The number of pans offered by the two, and their related price tags, won’t be available until Oct. 1 according to the Division of Insurance director.

The state appears to be cutting it close to the open enrollment time by just starting the navigator hiring and training process. Quite a number of states have already launched such programs and are currently in the midst of heavy advertising/educational campaigns. We will see come October 1 if the state is ready when the light turns green.

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