The government agency that administers Obamacare showed a willingness to give states more leeway in managing their individual health insurance marketplaces.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said Tuesday that it approved a so-called 1332 state innovation waiver application. The waiver, the first of its kind, will allow Alaska to create a program that will cover claims in the individual insurance market for people who have one or more of 33 "high cost conditions."
Premiums in Alaska's individual marketplace have increased 203 percent since 2013, and only one insurer still offers plans on its health exchange, according to CMS.
With the waiver, Alaska expects premiums will fall 20 percent by 2018. CMS said the lower premiums will help more Alaskans receive coverage.
"Today's approval will temporarily stabilize Alaska's individual insurance market," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma, in a statement.
Under the plan, the cost of so-called silver health plan premiums will be reduced, which will result in the federal government spending less in premium tax credits. Alaska also will receive pass-through funding to help offset a portion of the state's costs for the state-operated reinsurance program.