The United Way and Native Tribal Health Consortium will receive $300,000 each from the federal government to hire navigators to help people access the federal health insurance plans.
"There are people very, very committed to making sure Alaskans have the opportunity to take full advantage of what the law can provide," said Michelle Brown, president of United Way of Anchorage.
Coverage begins Jan. 1. The first enrollment period extends from Oct. 1 through March 31.
United Way vice president - Sue Brogan has received the authority to hire and train navigators. There will be two navigators for Anchorage, 1 for Juneau and 1 for Fairbanks along with some volunteer navigators.
Congress provided a pool of money for states to create their own exchanges, said Karen Pollitz with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C., and an expert in the implementation of the health care law by the states. The Congress had assumed states would manage their own marketplaces.
"It's all stretched thin where the federal government is having to do it for so many states, because they just didn't think they'd have to," she said.
Alaska's Gov. Sean Parnell felt Alaska would have problems to operate the exchange once the funding dried up as he was unaware that the health law permitted states to collect a part of the premiums to run the exchange.
Parnell said Alaskans haven't been hurt by his decision to forgo a state-operated exchange.
"I think they're actually more hurt by losing their freedom and being compelled to pay for health insurance," Parnell said.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Anchorage Daily News September 2013