JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A major health insurer in Alaska has announced plans to provide $5.7 million to help bolster rural health care in the state.

The Juneau Empire reports the money pledged by Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska will go toward the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the University of Alaska Anchorage and a new grant-making program administered by the Rasmuson Foundation in partnership with the Alaska Community Foundation.

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The grant-making program will get $3 million of the pledged funds. Jeff Roe, president and CEO of Premera Blue Cross says grants will go to rural outpatient clinics, community health centers and hospitals for small capital improvement projects and medical equipment.

Roe told a press conference in Anchorage that expanding the reach of health care will help to reduce costs for everyone.

Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com