What will this mean for the people of Arizona? That’s one of the most important questions following the recent announcement that United Healthcare is leaving our state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace next year.
The nation’s largest health-care insurer, UnitedHealthcare, will exit the Affordable Care Act marketplace in Arizona next year, a move that will reduce or eliminate options for consumers to buy subsidized plans in more than half of the state’s counties.
More than 135,000 Arizonans enrolled and paid for a health plan as of Dec. 31, and most of those sign-ups were in Maricopa and Pima counties, where consumers had plenty of options. Maricopa County consumers could buy from eight insurance companies, and Pima County residents had five insurance providers.
But experts say losing UnitedHealthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield as an option on Healthcare.gov would be devastating in rural counties that may be left without marketplace options.
A story in the Arizona Capitol Times echoed the possibility that Blue Cross Blue Shield could pull out as well and pointed out how that could be devastating in some parts of Arizona.
The exit of both companies could leave residents in some rural counties without a way to get subsidized health insurance.
Blue Cross Blue Shield and UnitedHealthcare’s All Savers are the only marketplace options in eight Arizona counties where more than 30,000 people chose a plan.
Arizona is not alone. CNN is reporting that UnitedHealthcare plans to “exit most of the Affordable Care Act exchanges where it operates by 2017.” It is particularly troubling to us that a major national for profit company like UnitedHealthcare can make a decision thousands of miles away from our state that might harm the health of the people who live here.
We believe that major decisions that affect the people of Arizona should be made in Arizona. Do you have United Healthcare as an insurance provider? How might this change affect you? This issue is so important right now, Kaiser Health News believes it could play a major role in Arizona’s Senate race.
A difficult issue to be sure, but we need to battle these types of challenges with innovative ideas and solutions if we truly want to reach our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!