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Moda returning for 2020 in south-central Alaska, Premera proposes slight rate decrease

Wednesday, December 4, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sheri Ryan
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Alaska health insurance marketplace: history and news of the state’s exchange

Alaska's reinsurance program has stabilized its individual market; Premera's rates are expected to decrease slightly again for 2020, and Moda is rejoining the exchange

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Highlights and updates

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Moda returning for 2020 in south-central Alaska, Premera proposes slight rate decrease

Moda has returned to Alaska’s exchange for 2020, and Premera implemented a slight average rate decrease for 2020. The approved rate drop averages just 0.3 percent (with a small increase for New Preferred plans and a small decrease for New Preferred HSA plans), and it’s a slightly smaller rate decrease than the half a percent that Premera had initially proposed. But it’s the third year in a row of decreasing premiums for Premera’s individual market plans.

The stabilizing market and decreasing premiums are due in large part to Alaska’s reinsurance program (details below), which took effect in 2017 and began receiving federal pass-through funding in 2018. For 2020, Alaska’s reinsurance program will reimburse insurers a total of $69,000,000 in reinsurance claims.

Insurers in Alaska’s individual market will continue to add the cost of cost-sharing reductions (CSR) to on-exchange silver plans rates for 2020. Plans that are only sold off-exchange will not include the cost of CSR in their premiums.

A redacted rate filing for Premera is available on the federal rate review site, but Moda’s filing is not available since they don’t have an applicable rate change for 2020. But Moda’s website clarifies that their coverage area in 2020 includes the Municipality of Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

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Insurer participation in Alaska’s exchange


From 2014 through 2016, plans were available in Alaska’s exchange from both Moda and Premera. But for 2017 through 2019, Premera has been the only insurer offering individual market plans in Alaska, including on the exchange (WyomingDelaware, Mississippi, and Nebraska also have just a single insurer offering plans in their exchanges for 2019, but Bright Health is joining the exchange in Nebraska for 2020).

In 2014, Premera had 58 percent of the individual market in Alaska, Moda had 36 percent, and the remaining six percent were distributed across Time, Celtic, and Aetna. These figures included grandfathered plans, grandmothered plans, and ACA-compliant plans both on and off exchange (Time, Celtic, and Aetna were only available outside the exchange).

By 2015, Premera’s market share had dropped to 43 percent, and Moda’s had increased to 51 percent. Moda’s total individual market enrollment in 2015 was 14,825, but had dropped to under 10,000 people by January 2016, when Moda briefly exited the individual market (described in more detail below).

Moda Health Plan Inc. had a tumultuous couple weeks in early 2016, although they ended up remaining in Alaska’s market until the end of that year. In October 2015, Moda had exited the market in Washington and California, in order to focus on Oregon and Alaska.

On January 28, 2016, the Alaska Division of Insurance announced that Moda Health’s financial losses and dwindling capital reserves had reached the point where the carrier could no longer sell or renew policies in the individual market in Alaska (Oregon, the only other state where Moda was still operating, came to the same conclusion).

At that point, there were about 9,800 people in Alaska with individual plans from Moda. On February 8, regulators in Alaska and Oregon reached an agreement with Moda that allowed the carrier to resume selling and renewing coverage in the individual markets in both states. Part of the agreement was a commitment from Moda to continue to service individual market policy-holders until at least the end of 2016, which they did. But Moda’s plans were no longer available after the end of 2016, and Alaska’s exchange—and individual market—has only had plans from Premera ever since.

But for 2020, Moda has rejoined the exchange, providing additional options for residents who purchased their own health insurance in Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula, and the Mat-Su Borough. Delta Dental of California invested $152 million in Moda earlier in 2019, obtaining a 49.5 percent stake in the company. While Alaska’s regulators had concerns about Moda’s financial health in 2016 and 2017, they have noted that those concerns are no longer an issue after the infusion of capital in the agreement with Delta Dental of California.

Enrollment in Alaska’s exchange


As has been the case in the majority of the states that use, enrollment in Alaska’s health insurance exchange peaked in 2016. That year, 23,029 people enrolled in private plans (QHPs) through the Alaska exchange.

Each year since then, enrollment has declined:

  • 19,145 people enrolled for 2017. That was 17 percent lower than enrollment had been in 2016. There was about a 5 percent decline in average enrollments for 2017 across all the states that use, so Alaska’s percentage drop-off in enrollments was one of the biggest in the country. But despite smaller-than-average percentage rate increase for 2017, Alaska still had by far the most expensive health insurance in the country in 2017, and the possibility of GOP legislation to repeal the individual mandate penalty resonated more with Alaska residents than it did in states where unsubsidized coverage is more affordable.
  • 18,313 people enrolled for 2018
  • 17,805 people enrolled for 2019

From 2014 through 2016, enrollment in Alaska’s exchange had increased each year, as was true in most states. Only 12,890 people enrolled for 2014, the first year that the exchanges were operational. The next year, for 2015 coverage, 20,897 signed up for plans in Alaska’s exchange. Enrollment peaked in 2016, at more than 23,000, but has since declined to under 18,000 people.


Check out information regarding chiropractic and massage benefits for Moda Plans on the ACS website in the ACS Community Insurance Forms - Moda Information.  

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