Alaska Department of Administration
Administration >  HCA >  HCA Background

Health Care Authority Background

Senate Bill 74 directs the Department of Administration to procure a study to determine the feasibility of creating a Health Care Authority (HCA) in Alaska.

The studies focus on identifying opportunities to coordinate plan administration and consolidate purchasing effectiveness for individuals whose health benefits are funded directly or indirectly by the state. This includes State of Alaska retirees and employees, state corporations, University of Alaska employees, school district employees, Medicaid recipients, and political subdivision employees.

The Department engaged several contractors in this effort:

  • PRM Consulting Group (PRM) – Focused on public employee and retiree health plans. Tasked with survey development, data collection, and analysis.
  • Pacific Health Policy Group (PHPG) – Focused on identifying opportunities to align or integrate the Medicaid program. Tasked with providing Medicaid technical assistance and analysis.
  • Mark A. Foster & Associates (MAFA) – Focused on Alaska market analysis. Tasked with providing peer review of analysis and developing purchasing strategies.

These reports address the statutory requirements outline in SB 74 and are intended to begin the conversation and engagement on the difficult discussions of what Alaskans see as the future for publicly funded health care. The opportunities and concepts outlined in the reports would require considerable change in the provision and financing of health benefits, but could also create considerable value. Extensive public discourse, stakeholder engagement, and full legislative buy-in will be required for the state to move forward with any of these recommendations.

The Department hosted a series of webinars to provide an overview of the reports with the contractors. The recorded presentations are posted under Related Links on this page. Comments from the public review and comment period are also posted, under Document Links.

What’s next for the health care authority studies?

The studies demonstrated that a health care authority is a feasible concept and could lead to significant cost containment. The next step is to identify what conditions are necessary and sufficient for a successful implementation of a health care authority. This will include additional actuarial analyses and extensive stakeholder engagement. The departments of Administration, Health and Social Services and Commerce, Community and Economic Development are collaborating with consultants to determine whether a health care authority is the best way to deliver value to public employers and employees and enable health care system reform in Alaska.

Why do we need another analysis?

The State of Alaska spends more than a billion dollars each year to directly or indirectly fund health coverage for more than 340,000 individuals. A comprehensive review and feedback process is necessary before making changes to such a critical element of Alaskans’ lives and livelihoods. The Administration does not have a preconceived vision for a health care authority and plans to rely heavily on stakeholder input and lessons learned from the experiences of other states that have pursued public sector health care cost containment.

Is this going to increase the role of government in health care?

No, government (including the federal government) already funds well over half of all health care in Alaska. A health care authority would ideally be empowered to find efficiencies and use its collective purchasing power to drive comprehensive system reform that benefits both public and private payers. A health care authority can be a catalyst for change in Alaska’s health care market, and by orienting the system on value, aligning consumer incentives and fostering competition and innovation, it can improve access to affordable health care for all Alaskans.

How can I stay informed?

Check this website for updates, and email AlaskaHCA@alaska.gov to be added to our contact list.