Alaska looks to get a handle on health care costs

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 4, 2013 at 8:10 pm •  Published: February 4, 2013
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Payment levels for a standard office visit under Alaska Medicaid are around $220, he told the committee. That compares to less than $80 for Washington Medicaid and about $120 for Idaho Medicaid.

On the Medicaid side, the state is looking at things like managing and reviewing utilization. Streur also talked about disease and case management, making sure people are getting the care they need, when they need it.

As far as employee and retiree health care, Hultberg said she would like to see people become "consumers of health," and ask questions about the cost of a service or procedure, helping to send a message they care what things cost. She said it would be a mistake to look at the providers as being a problem but said the parties need to work together.

She said the state also is looking at developing an employee wellness program and a "culture of health." The state also is considering expanded travel benefits or contracting with "centers of excellence" for certain services, something she said some large corporations have done in seeking a better value. She said the state supports local health care but cannot continue to see "double-digit price increases when we're already so much more expensive than the rest of the country."

She said the state also is looking at implementing a "plan B" system for retirees that would allow the state potentially to provide a cost structure that would keep pace with inflation and to steer retirees to preferred providers.

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Follow Becky Bohrer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/beckybohrerap.

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