AK Small Business Health Insurance Plans
Alaska Small Business Health Insurance Plans 2022. The following is an overview of the rules that govern small group health insurance plans in the State of Alaska.
The information that is discussed below includes the laws that have been mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare"), as well as the laws that are required by Alaska State government.
If you own and operate a AK small business and you already offer small group health insurance or you're thinking about offering small group health insurance - this guide can help you better understand the regulations, requirements and available Alaska small business health insurance plans available.
Learn how to get Alaska small business health insurance plans for 1 to 50 employees. The best small business health insurance providers in AK offer affordable rates, flexible coverage options and access to a large network of medical providers.
Below are some answers to commonly asked AK small business health insurance plan questions:
- How Much Does Alaska Small Business Health Insurance Cost?
- What Are The Small Business Health Insurance Regulations In Alaska?
- Does Alaska Participate In The Affordable Care Act?
- What Are The Affordable Care Act Requirements For Alaska Small Businesses?
- How Are AK Health Insurance Premiums Are Determined?
- What Types Of Health Insurance Plans Are Available For Alaska Small Businesses?
How Much Does Alaska Small Business Health Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard Alaska small business health insurance policy ranges from around $583 to over $1706 per employee per month based on; single or family, location, coverages offered, deductibles and more.
What Are The Small Business Health Insurance Regulations In Alaska?
In the State of Alaska, health insurance companies are requires to sell small group health insurance policies to any small business that applies for coverage.
Additionally, small businesses that employ more than 2 but that fewer than 50 individuals must be offered the same Alaska small business health insurance policies that other small businesses are offered.
For businesses that qualify, the company is also required to meet minimum participation requirements that are set by an Alaska health insurance company. If a company does not meet the minimum level of participation that an Alaska health insurance company requires, the policy can be terminated.
In Alaska, it is legal for health insurance companies to charge higher premiums for Alaska small business health insurance plans, based on the health status, age, and gender of the group; however, there are limits to how much the prices for a policy can vary, as per these factors.
Similar to individual health insurance, illness cannot be used as grounds for terminating small business health insurance coverage in the State of Alaska.
The State of Alaska offers The Digital Literacy Guide: Affordable Health Care Act Information, offers information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Small Business Health Insurance Benefit Rules In Alaska
- Group Plans - For pre-existing conditions on enrollees that do not have prior coverage, there is a maximum look-back of 6 months and an exclusionary period of 12 months. Benefits vary according to plan.
- Individual Plans - Assorted plans that depend on needs. A maximum 60-month look-back period and a maximum exclusion period of 24-months for pre-existing conditions on enrollees that lack previous coverage.
- COBRA - Coverage is available for 18 to 36 months, depending on qualifying events.
- HIPPA - Benefits are based on the program that is selected. Coverage doesn't expire, and pre-existing conditions are covered.
Does Alaska Participate In The Affordable Care Act?
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare") was passed by the United States Congress and was signed into law by Obama. Following its passage, provisions of the law have continued to be phased in, and as of January 1, 2014, the majority of American citizens and legal residents of the United States are required, by law, to have qualifying health care coverage.
If they fail to have coverage, they are responsible for paying an annual tax penalty for each month they aren't insured, which is known as the "individual mandate".
The cost of the penalty for failure to have qualifying coverage is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, or 1% of your total taxable income; whichever amount is higher - as much as $285 per family. In 2017, the penalty increased, and has continued to increase thereafter.
Qualifying Exemptions For The Individual Mandate
Individuals who meet one of the following are exempt from the individual mandate and the associated tax penalties in AK:
- Illegal aliens
- Jailed individuals
- Religious objections
- The cost of health insurance coverage is higher than 8% of your household income
- Those who aren't covered for less than three months during the calendar year
- Those who have hardship waivers
- Your income level is blow the 100% poverty level
What Are The Affordable Care Act Requirements For Alaska Small Businesses?
If you're a small business owner in Alaska, you must provide your employees with insurance. This is a requirement that was put into place by the Affordable Care Act.
Referred to as the Employer Shared Responsibility provision, all employers must offer their employees at least one of the ACA-compliant Alaska small business health insurance plans, otherwise then can face fines of up to $2,000 per employee.
Alaska small business owners can purchase coverage for their employees through the state's Small Health Option Program (SHOP) exchange, or from a private insurance agent or broker.
Affordable Care Act Standardized Essential Health Benefits
As per the ACA, all qualifying health insurance plans must offer 10 standardized essential benefits.
Depending on the state, additional benefits may also be required. The 10 ACA standardized essential benefits are as follows:
- Ambulatory patient services (medical care that is offered without being admitted to a hospital)
- Emergency services
- Hospitalizations, such as overnight stays and surgical procedures
- Lab services
- Mental health and substance abuse disorder services, including behavioral health treatments, such as psychotherapy and counseling
- Pediatric health care services, including vision and oral care; however, adult vision and dental coverage aren't essential health benefits under ACA
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care, including before and after birth
- Prescription pharmaceuticals
- Preventative and wellness services, as well as management for chronic diseases
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, including services and devices for injuries, disabilities, and chronic health conditions
Additional Health Benefits Mandated In Alaska
In the State of Alaska, the following benefits, which exceed the requirements that have been set forth by the ACA, are mandated. As such, small business owners that offer their employees small group coverage must provide these additional mandates. These additional benefits include:
- Clinical trials for cancer
- Diabetes care management
- Reconstructive surgery following mastectomy
Standardized Alaska Small Business Health Insurance Plans
In order to make it easier to compare costs and benefits, the Affordable Care Act has designated all qualifying Alaska small business health insurance plans to be one of four metal colors, including Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Each of these designations is based on the average amount of health care costs that the plan will cover, which is illustrates at percentages of how much the insurance company will cover for health care, as well as the amount the insured will have to pay out-of-pocket.
All insurance companies that are participating in the federal or state health care exchange program must offer at least the Silver and Gold Alaska small business health insurance plans.
All four of the metal plans have a shared maximum out-of-pocked amount that the insured can be charged during any calendar year. The following table illustrates this information:
|Metal Plan||Insurer Pays / Insured Pays|
|Bronze||60% / 40%|
|Silver||70% / 30%|
|Gold||80% / 20%|
|Platinum||90% / 10%|
As per the ACA, individuals cannot be denied coverage or charged higher premiums because of their past health history, or their gender.
Additionally, look-back and waiting periods cannot be imposed. Additionally, policies are effective when they are issued and all coverage is renewable if the individual chooses to renew the policy.
However, plans can be canceled if the individual fails to pay their premiums or commits fraud.
How Are AK Health Insurance Premiums Determined?
A premium is the amount the insured must pay out-of-pocket in order to maintain their health insurance policy. The premiums that are charged for any of the qualifying metal plans can be based on the following:
- Age of the individual
- Whether or not the individual uses tobacco
- Where the individual lives, based on a rating area
- The number of family members who will be enrolling
What Types Of Health Insurance Plans Are Available For Alaska Small Businesses?
While there are several types of health insurance plans to choose from, the following plans are the most popular among AK small business owners:
Health Maintenance Organization - Simply known as an "HMO", this type of plan offers a variety of health-related services via a network of health care providers and hospitals that exclusively contract with the HMO, or who agree to offer their services to members of the HMO. Employees who participate in this type of plan usually have to choose a primary care physician (PCP), and receive most of their care from this physician. If a specialist is needed, the PCP will recommend one that is affiliated with the HMO.
Preferred Provider Organization - More commonly referred to simply as "PPO", this type of health insurance plan is the most common among Alaska small business owners. The insurance company provides a preferred list of health care providers, and employees must receive their medical care from the doctors and hospitals on that list for their claims to be paid at the highest level possible - but they also have the flexibility to see any other provider anywhere in or out of state.
Point-of-Service Plan - Known as a (POS), this type of health insurance plan provides access to health care services at a lower overall cost, but with fewer choices. Members can access care from in-network or out-of-network providers and facilities, but coverage is better when you stay in-network. POS plans may vary, but generally, plans are considered a blend of HMO and PPO plans - offering more flexibility than HMOs, but less than PPOs.
Health Savings Account - A health savings account (HSA) is a special type of bank account that allows participants in the insurance plan to save money that can be used specifically for the medical care they require in the future. HSA-qualified health insurance plans are usually PPO plans that are specifically designed to be used with an HSA.
Indemnity Health Insurance - This type of health insurance plan allows members to control their own health care and to visit any doctor or hospital they choose. The insurance company would then pay a pre-determined percentage of the total charges for the services that were rendered. Employees may have to pay for some types of services up-front and then they can submit a request for reimbursement with the insurance company.
Alaska Small Business Health Insurance Plans - The Bottom Line
We strongly advise business owners to speak with a CPA and a AK health insurance broker before jumping in and getting any type of the Alaska small business health insurance plans available.
Make sure that you know exactly what each option can do for your company and the potential drawbacks associated with it.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
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Also find AK local small businesses by General Liability Class Code and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.
Small Business Health Insurance Plans By State
You can find more state specific small business health insurance information including requirments and coverage by clicking on the state below:
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia