ACA enrollment Better rates for Alaskans but less time to find them

first_imgWhile the feds have slashed advertising for the ACA enrollment period, the state a has a print-it-yourself option to get the word out. Image: www.commerce.alaska.govPresident Trump is fond of saying “Obamacare is dead.” That negative advertising from the White House is just one of the obstacles Alaska’s health care navigators are trying to overcome ahead of the Affordable Care Act enrollment period that starts Nov. 1. But for Alaskans who buy their own health insurance on the individual market, there’s also good news.Listen nowJessie Menkens is a health care navigator and coordinates the program for the Alaska Primary Care Association, one of the non-profits that get federal money to help people sign up for insurance through the federal marketplace. Premera, the sole marketplace insurer in Alaska, has announced a rate decrease for next year, and Menkens said that’s especially good for Alaskans who earn too much to qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.“For the very first time the cost of plans is going down significantly,” Menkens said. “This is new information to a lot of folks when we start talking with them about their opportunities.”For those who do qualify for financial help, Menkens said the discounts will be applied, same as before, even if the government doesn’t reimburse Premera.“Nothing is really going to change how open enrollment operates this year there will be subsidies available to Alaskans to reduce the cost of their insurance and their out-of-pocket expenditures,” Menkens said.But some things have changed, and they’re a challenge to those trying to lower the number of Alaskans who don’t have insurance. For one, the Trump administration has shortened the enrollment period. It was three months. Now it’s six weeks.“We finally have an opportunity to perhaps add some stability to our market place. But in order for us to be successful with that we need to be able to get the word out and share this information with Alaskans,” Menkens said.And now they have less money to get that word out. The federal government suddenly cut funding for her program by 25 percent. Alaska navigators have had to scale back their marketing campaigns. The federal government used to help with its own advertising of enrollment periods, but the new administration slashed that budget by 90 percent.Menkens said the navigators who work for Alaska Primary Care Association have had to cut their hours, though they aim to remain on duty as much as possible during the critical enrollment period.And there’s another challenge: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it plans to shut down the website for 12 hours nearly every weekend during the open enrollment period, for maintenance.Sue Brogan heads the navigator program at United Way of Anchorage, which is focused on Anchorage residents. She said the website outages will be hard for Alaskans who don’t need navigator help and want to sign up on their own.“We’re really extremely concerned and disappointed if that is the way that that will move forward,” Brogan said.In Alaska, the outages will hit during some prime evening hours. They are scheduled for every Saturday night except Dec. 9, starting at 8 p.m. Alaska time. In addition, the government says it will have an “overnight” outage on the first night of open enrollment, Nov. 1. No time was provided.The Health and Human Services Department said the site was down for maintenance during enrollment periods in the Obama administration, too, and for nearly as long.The individual market enrollment period runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. It does not affect most Alaskans, who get their insurance through employers.How to reach the health care navigators in Alaska: United Way of AnchorageCall 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221 to talk to a navigator or schedule an appointmentAlaska Primary Care Association – Get Covered AlaskaHelpline: 1-844-PLANSAKContact a local community centerlast_img read more

Myst fan creates a real linking book

first_imgFor many, the Myst franchise was an obsession worth getting lost in. The game was designed to offer an escape from the onslaught of FPS titles, and instead focus on rich scenery and clever puzzles. As Myst became Riven, Exile, and back to realMyst, the games became more and more immersive. A key component to the franchise was the linking book. These magical books were written as a portal from world to world, and using them was typical at critical points in the plot. One Myst fan by the name of Mike Ando decided that he needed to have the closest thing to a real linking book as he could get, and accomplished his goal by making a book that can play all of the Myst games.When you think about the Myst title in the context of current generation technology, the games seem to have been almost intentionally designed to be played by reaching out and touching the screen. With that in mind, this Myst linking book offers a terrific gaming experience for the franchise. Underneath the pages of the book you find an entire Windows PC running an Intel Z530P with a GMA500 and 1GB of RAM. This is more than enough to play the original games, but the creator of the book assures that it manages to play End of Ages at a solid 30fps.It wasn’t enough to simply be capable of playing Myst in a linking book. Accuracy was a big deal to Myst fan Mike Ando. He tracked down the exact edition of the book that Cyan Studios scanned to create the digital linking book. From there he gutted the book and “restored” it to look as close to perfect as you can get to the book from the game, right down to the 24-carat gold paint that fills the MYST embossing on the cover. The inside of the book offers more than enough room to both hold the computer and offer enough extra space for heat dissipation.After putting that much work into creating something like this, I doubt selling it would be particularly high on my list of priorities. This probably has a lot to do with why Mike has the price listed at $15,625 at the very bottom of his website, with a link to his email address. Re-creating this book exactly would be a challenge for many, but the instructions are all there on his website for anyone brave enough to try. I’ll just install realMyst on my desktop and hope that someday the Myst IP gets resurrected by someone along with a pre-order bonus offering something just as special.Read more at Rium+last_img read more