Legislation allowing a popular air-ambulance service’s membership program to continue serving Alaskans passed the state Senate today.
Seattle-based Airlift Northwest has offered its AirCare program since 2008. It covers the difference between what medevac flights cost and the amount insurance covers. Those flights can run $100,000 or more, so deductibles or co-pays can be large.
Alaska officials last year decided the program did not meet state standards. It allowed existing AirCare subscribers to keep their memberships until they ran out. But new memberships and renewals were prohibited.
Sitka Republican Senator Bert Stedman sponsored the bill that passed unopposed today.
Senate Bill 159 does not name AirCare, but allows it and similar membership programs to operate in Alaska.
The measure now goes to the state House, where Juneau Republican Representative Cathy Munoz has authored a similar measure. House Bill 300 has had one hearing in its only committee of referral.
The AirCare program has about 3,200 members in Alaska. Most live in Southeast.
- The co-chairmen of the House Finance Committee revised their plans to introduce an income tax to Alaska for the first time in nearly four decades.
- The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is in full swing. In less than a week, the fleet has caught over half of its quota. And while most crew members work on the water, spotter pilots fish for herring from the sky.
- A lot of eyes were on the U.S. House today, but, as Republican factions shuttled to the White House to negotiate, it was a day of waiting for most.
- Gov. Walker’s legislation creates a new definition for independent contractors that would determine whether employers have to pay to insure against on-the-job injuries.