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Tegan Hanlon

Moda Health, one of two insurance companies participating in Alaska’s federally run online marketplace, says it will cancel individual policies that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act, a decision that will affect about 800 Alaskans.

The affected policyholders should receive a letter about the cancelation for 2015 by early October, according to Jason Gootee, Moda Health's regional manager for Alaska.

Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, the other insurance company on the online marketplace, has taken a different approach and will allow its members to hang onto their individual policies -- at least for a while -- even though those policies do not comply with the standards laid out in the health care law, said Melanie Coon, a Premera spokesperson...

Tegan Hanlon

The University of Alaska Board of Regents struck down a tuition hike Friday that would have upped student costs by 4 percent for the 2015-16 academic year, according to a statement from the university.

UA President Pat Gamble had proposed the increase, saying it would help address future funding shortfalls. This year, UA faces a $26 million budget gap driven by trimmed state funding and increased fixed costs, said the statement...

Tegan Hanlon

A small plane crashed Friday in northern Alaska, leaving at least one person aboard injured, according to the National Transportation Safety Board and Alaska Air National Guard.

In response to the report of a downed aircraft, the Air Guard deployed an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter and an HC-130 King aircraft, both carrying a team of Guardian Angels, said Sgt. Edward Eagerton, a Guard spokesman.

Eagerton said the crash site was about 250 miles northeast of Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks.

"We don't have all the details yet," Eagerton said.

Around 4 p.m. Friday, the response was still considered an active mission, he said...

Tegan Hanlon

Democratic Alaska Sen. Mark Begich on Thursday voted against a measure backed by President Barack Obama to equip and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State, breaking with the Senate majority leader, other Alaska lawmakers in the Capitol and his Republican opponent, Dan Sullivan.

The measure was contained in a larger Senate bill to temporarily keep the government funded. The Senate passed the bill right before lawmakers began leaving Washington, D.C., to campaign in midterm elections.

Begich, facing a tough re-election race, spoke Thursday on the Senate floor before the vote and said the fight against terrorism should not have been lumped with the issue of funding the U.S. government...

Tegan Hanlon

At a town hall event Tuesday evening in Anchorage, Fred “Bulldog” Becker IV, a Vietnam veteran, stood up. “I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and beat up the VA,” he quipped. Some in the crowd of about 50 in the Loussac Library Assembly Chambers laughed.

Becker and 15 or so other veterans randomly chosen to speak slung praises, criticisms and suggestions at staff from the Alaska VA Healthcare System, Veterans Benefits Administration and state’s Office of Veterans Affairs who stood at the front of the room.

The meeting was Alaska’s response to a mandate from new VA Secretary Bob McDonald that all VA hospitals and benefits offices nationwide host town hall meetings to rebuild trust after allegations of secret wait lists and mismanaged care unfolded this summer...

Tegan Hanlon

A 63-year-old man died Monday in an ATV crash on the Kenai Peninsula, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers said Donald Burns Jr. of Soldotna was driving a Yamaha ATV on a rough and wet trail system near Ninilchik. To avoid deep mud in the center of the Water Hole Trail, Burns apparently tried to drive up a muddy hill, according to a troopers dispatch posted online Tuesday.

Burns fell off his ATV, which flipped and pinned him underneath. He was riding alone, troopers said.

At 8:51 p.m., a person out using the trail reported a fatal wreck. When troopers arrived, Burns was dead, said Megan Peters, troopers spokeswoman.

Burns' body was sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Anchorage for an autopsy, troopers said...

Tegan Hanlon

A little more than $5.3 million in recently awarded federal funds will pay for new services, more providers and expanded hours at 27 health centers in Alaska, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grants went to facilities in communities from Kotzebue to Fort Yukon to Unalaska and Wrangell. Nationwide, the federal health department will give 1,195 health centers $295 million in Affordable Care Act funding to expand primary care services in fiscal year 2014, the statement said.

At the Dahl Memorial Clinic in Skagway, the $192,834 award will boost services in the summer, when the tourism industry booms and appointments are hard to come by for locals, said Shelly O'Boyle, the clinic's executive director...

Tegan Hanlon

The Alaska VA Healthcare System will hold a town hall meeting Tuesday evening at which veterans can ask questions and express concerns about Veterans Affairs benefits and services.

The meeting will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the Loussac Library's Assembly Chambers. Taking comments will be Susan Yeager, director of the Alaska VA Healthcare System; Jon Skelly, regional director of the Veterans Benefits Administration; and Forrest Powell, program manager of the state's Office of Veterans Affairs, according to a statement from the Alaska VA Healthcare System.

Claims representatives will be at the library to provide one-on-one assistance after the meeting, the statement said...

Tegan Hanlon

A 21-year-old woman was killed in an ATV crash Sunday in Saint Marys, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers said Pulcheria Yupanik was the only person on the ATV when it crashed on Airport Road, less than a mile from the turnoff to Pitkas Point, a tiny community in Western Alaska where Yukpanik was from. A trooper responded to the wreck around 1:20 p.m., according to a dispatch posted online Monday.

Yupanik suffered fatal injuries. Her body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage for an autopsy, the dispatch said.

Megan Peters, a troopers spokeswoman, could not immediately provide additional details on the circumstances of the crash. CPR was performed for about 45 minutes, she said...

Tegan Hanlon

Bryan Box, a 28-year-old student veteran, carries a large thermos with "SAB9491T" scribbled on its side. The inscription is Box's battle roster, which he described as a digital "dog tag" used by the U.S. Army to identify soldiers.

He added the “T” at the end simply because it holds his tea. He has another thermos with an “S.” That one is for soup.

As fall semester sets in, Box navigates the University of Alaska Anchorage campus still carrying the ID code that labeled him for the six years he was enlisted in the Army. In school, he's learning both biology and how to adapt...

Tegan Hanlon