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.
- Tribal groups from opposite ends of the state have formed an alliance to fight mines they say threaten traditional fisheries.
- The deadline for bids and public comment on a proposed Haines-area timber sale has been extended. The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of old growth Sitka spruce and western hemlock on the Chilkat Peninsula.
- Heat pumps are nothing new. But upgrades over the past thirty years have made the systems a lot more reliable. Now Juneau installers are racing to keep up with growing demand.
- Concern over poor king salmon runs across the state drew a panel of fisheries experts together at a recent meeting in Anchorage. The event focused mainly on a better understanding of the science behind population declines.