Alaska Senate OKs bill to help stabilize insurance market

    The Alaska Senate has passed legislation aimed at helping stabilize an individual health insurance market that's been plagued by rising rates and, starting next year, will be down to one insurer.

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Senate has passed legislation aimed at helping stabilize an individual health insurance market that's been plagued by rising rates and, starting next year, will be down to one insurer.

    Under the bill, claims for high-cost conditions would be ceded to a high-risk pool funded by a premium tax paid to the state by insurance companies. The bill anticipates $55 million being available.

    The director of Alaska's Division of Insurance, Lori Wing-Heier, said that money currently goes to the state's general fund.

    She says the bill would help blunt the rise in rates for 2017 but not erase them.

    The fund would be repealed in two years, which lawmakers say will provide time to work on longer-term fixes to high health care costs.

    The House still must decide whether to agree to the Senate version of the bill.

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