Tag Archives: enroll alaska

I signed up for ObamaCare. It wasn’t scary, it worked and it’s affordable.

Obamacare I finally got it together, coinciding with the federal government getting it together, to sign up for ObamaCare. Unlike a few months ago, when the site wasn’t working and frustration took hold, I actually got it done today, with the help of a broker from Enroll Alaska, about whom I can’t say enough good things. It took about 45 minutes. It was stress free. It worked.

The most surprising thing for me was how relatively affordable the policy was. Where I used to work, the deductible was $2500 and the premiums were about $770 a month. And that was about half of what I would be paying on the private market. The policy I will have now through Premera, thanks to ObamaCare, is about $545 a month, without tax credits or any kind of government help. The deductible is $2000.

If you make less than 400 percent of the poverty level in Alaska– $57,400 a year for a single person or $117,760 for a family of four—you will qualify for subsidies.

To put this in perspective: The state is paying roughly $1400 a month in premiums for every state worker with a deductible anywhere from $300 to $600.

In other words, the policy I signed up for today is $845 less a month than the state pays a month to insure its workers. Let me repeat:  $545 month is pure private market money, without any government subsides.

It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever been able to buy affordable healthcare on the private market. And I’m not alone.

Because of the mess of the ObamaCare roll-out, everything that is claimed to be wrong about the health care system has been saddled on the back of this legislation, and now is being used as political propaganda. The politicians who are making the noise are not subject to the cruelties of the private health insurance market. They have government funded insurance. They have tax payer funded insurance. They are simply unaware of how nearly impossible it was for many to get affordable insurance unless you worked for government or for a big corporation. And they certainly seem unaware of the grinding fear and frustrations, of the millions of stories of bankruptcy and financial ruin, all of which was the experience of the healthcare system for so many.

Sure, there’s probably lots about the healthcare law that needs to be fixed. But as I’ve written before, the more people that have the kind of experience that I had today, the more people are going to wonder why so many politicians are hellbent on getting rid of a policy that has made such an enormous difference in their lives.

The deadline to sign up for insurance to start Jan. 1 is Dec. 23.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Anti-Obamacare websites mislead Alaskans

True and liesTo the extent that anything related to ObamaCare is fun, it’s kind of fun to take the quiz on Know the Facts Alaska, the anti-ObamaCare website that’s been set up in Alaska by Outsiders to try to derail ObamaCare.

No matter how you answer one of the five questions about your health care preferences, you’re told that you should either not sign up for ObamaCare on the health exchange at all, or that you should wait and see how others like it.

The folks behind Know the Facts, and its apparent sister site, Don’t Enroll Alaska, are funded by the Foundation for Government Accountability, one of the tentacles of the ever expanding network of Koch brothers’ think-tanks across the country.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow featured the sites on her show Monday night.

Alaska Commons, a local website, broke the story of the two sites, which were formed nearly simultaneously. Both sites offer misleading information about health care reform, something that isn’t sitting well with Enroll Alaska, an affiliate of Northrim Bank and a broker that’s working to sign people up for ObamaCare.

Tyann Boling, chief operating officer at Enroll Alaska, told the Alaska Dispatch that some of the facts on the sites are “very misleading.” Among other things, Boling takes issue with the quiz. She takes issue with the statement on Know Your Facts that “there is no trial period for the exchange plans.” It’s true, as far it goes, but the insurance bought through the exchanges is insurance bought through the private market. And no private health insurance plan, whether bought through the exchange or not, allows for trial periods.

Boling chalks the misleading information up to “charged” politics. Northrim Bank is one of the most conservative businesses in the state, and has not been shy in supporting pro-business Republican candidates.

Neither the Alaska Division of Insurance or the consumer protection division of Alaska’s Department of Law has done anything to warn consumers of the misleading information.

Bret Kolb, the director of the Division of Insurance, has said that it’s up to the federal government to inform consumers about ObamaCare.

According to sources in the insurance industry, Kolb submitted his resignation on Monday.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Northrim Bank finds business in ObamaCare

Obamacare At least one Alaskan private enterprise believes that there’s money to be made in the new health care law. Northrim Benefits Group, an affiliate of Northrim Bank, has started a service called Enroll Alaska that will help guide individuals through the new insurance marketplaces. Those marketplaces, or exchanges, are a key part of the Affordable Care Act, and will be up and running on October 1.

Depending on whom you ask and how it’s defined, anywhere from 66,000 to 139,000 Alaskans are uninsured or underinsured. Enroll Alaska hopes to be the broker of choice to as many of these as possible.

In the process, the business will also be educating Alaskans on the exchange, a role that our state government has appeared to have opted out of.

Agencies and nonprofits are also doing their part. In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services handed out more than $1,800,000 in grants to 25 Alaska health centers operating 168 sites to enroll the uninsured. And on August 15, HSS awarded another grant of $600,000 to be split between United Way and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium for outreach.

In truth, however, you don’t need any of these services. You can sign up yourself here, and it doesn’t appear to be overly complicated.

Here’s Northrim’s announcement in full:

ANCHORAGE, AK- August 19, 2013- Northrim Benefits Group (NBG) is proud to announce the formation of Enroll Alaska. This new division of NBG is focused on individual health coverage for the nearly 66,000 uninsured or underinsured Alaskans. Enroll Alaska will help guide individuals through the new insurance marketplaces that have been created with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and help those who may qualify for immediate tax subsidies.

Starting in 2014, there is a federal mandate that all individuals have health insurance, whether through an employer policy or purchased through a Federally Facilitated Marketplace. Individuals with household incomes between 100-400% of Federal Poverty Level may be eligible for premium assistance via a federal tax subsidy. Enroll Alaska will help individuals determine if they qualify for a federal tax subsidy and select a health insurance plan that is right for them and their family.

Enroll Alaska will have locations throughout the state to help individuals and families during open enrollment, which runs from October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Enroll Alaska will be the go-to resource for questions regarding the ACA. Information can be found at www.enrollingalaska.com or by calling, 1-855-385-5550.

Correction: Northrim Benefits group is an affiliate of Northrim Bank, not a fully owned subsidiary.
Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com