• Kids Count Alaska 2003

      Hanna, Virgene; Lampman, Claudia (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
      This year's spotlight for the Kid's Count Alaska Data Book is child health. As many as 12,000 more children in Alaska could qualify for a government-funded program that provides health care coverage for children without health insurance, according to a non- profit group working to let more Alaskans know about the program. Denali KidCare is an extension of Medicaid for children from uninsured families whose income is somewhat too high to qualify them for Medicaid. In 2003, children whose family income was less than 175 percent of the federal poverty level could apply. About 22,000 children were enrolled in the program during 2002, and the estimate of 12,000 additional children who could be eligible is based on U.S. census information about family income. The 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that Alaska high-school students are only about half as likely to use inhalants or smoke cigarettes as they were in 1995, and significantly less likely to drink, to fight, and to have sex without using condoms. The decline in inhalant use is especially welcome news, since sniffing gasoline fumes has killed a number of teenagers in Alaska Native villages in recent years. Students in Alaska are also now less likely than students nationwide to use inhalants—and to smoke or get into fights. On almost all measures, fewer Alaska students reported risky behavior in 2003 than in 1995, the last time this survey was administered in school districts statewide. So the recent news is good, but many high-school students are still putting their health—especially their long-term health—and safety at risk.
    • Understanding Barriers to Health Insurance of Uninsured and Sporadically Insured Alaskans

      Wilson, Meghan; Hanna, Virgene; Frazier, Rosyland (2007)
      It’s no surprise that a lot of the Alaskans who don’t have health insurance say they just can’t afford it. That’s what individual Alaskans and representatives of small businesses told us, when we held focus groups in Anchorage, the Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula boroughs, and Kodiak. But the focus groups, held from late 2006 through early 2007, did much more than just confirm what many Alaskans— and millions of other Americans—say about the costs of health insurance. We held the focus groups under contract with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, as part of the state’s effort to learn more about the barriers a substantial number of Alaskans face in getting health-care coverage. There were 16 focus groups, attended by 89 individual Alaskans, 30 representatives of small businesses, and 5 Alaskans who sell health insurance.