Rural areas across
Several states have been successful with variations of loan programs where health care providers receive prorated help for repayment of education costs. The spiraling cost of education is more pronounced in dental schools with the average graduating dentist leaving school with educational loans of over $200,000.
Reinstituting a variation of the old Alaska Student Loan program would provide an incentive for dentists to provide care in underserved areas. The prior student loan program forgave a year’s loan payment for each year the dentist resided in
Tying the forgiveness to delivery of care would make this an easier program to administer. The burden of proof would be on the dentist to demonstrate that the requisite patient services have been provided in order to receive the forgiveness of loan repayment. Programs that attempt to add a penalty after the loan program for recipients who fail to meet requirements are difficult to enforce and require tracking the loan recipients.
The Alaska Dental Society believes a program to encourage health care providers to provide care in underserved areas should include:
- Loans for education and supply costs for health care programs
- Preference given for Alaskan residents
- $15,000 yearly limit
- 10% interest rate
- 10 year payback
- year for year “forgiveness” for
- Maintaining Alaskan residency and
- Providing coverage for a community designated as underserved or providing comprehensive care for an average of 10 or more Medicaid patients during that year.
- For each year meeting the requirements one years repayment of the loan would be waived – a participant for 5 years would repay 50% of the loan + interest and have the remaining 50% waived