NEWS: Pre-filed Legislation Seeks to Save Alaska Money and Improve Access to Healthcare

Rep. Adam Wool

Bill Will Allow Additional Opportunities for Public Comments on Insurance Rate Increases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2016

JUNEAU – Representative Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks) has pre-filed two bills intended to save Alaskans money on healthcare and improve access to medical doctors.

House Bill 239 seeks to reform Alaska’s health insurance rate review process by better informing the public about proposed rate increases, giving people more opportunities to comment on proposed rate increases, and requiring a full adjudicatory hearing whenever rates are proposed to increase by more than 10%.  Over the last couple years, Alaskan consumers have experienced unprecedented health insurance rate hikes.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, insurance rates in Alaska skyrocketed 31% between 2014 and 2015, while average rates nationwide stayed the same.

“The first time most Alaskans heard that insurance companies were going to raise their rates over 30% was when they read about it in the paper after it had already been approved,” said Rep. Wool.  “No other state is experiencing such dramatic rate hikes, so it is clear that we need to reform how we review health insurance rates.”

The second pre-filed bill, HB 238, would help solve Alaska’s doctor shortage by having Alaska join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.  This would make it easier for doctors from other states to have their credentials recognized in Alaska.  The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact has been adopted by 12 other states, and is supported by many medical organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

“After hearing from constituents who experienced delays receiving their medical licenses, I started looking into how Alaska can streamline our licensure process,” said Rep. Wool.  “Joining the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact is a step towards making it faster and easier for doctors in other states to practice medicine in Alaska.”

Both bills will receive committee referrals when they are formally introduced on the first day of the upcoming Second Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature, which begins on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

For additional information, contact David Dunsmore in Rep. Wool’s office at (907) 465-4976.

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