Sticker shock. That’s what many Arizonans may be facing when they have to pay for their health insurance next year. Premiums in our state could skyrocket in 2017.
Arizona health insurers that sell Affordable Care Act plans next year will seek some of the largest rate increases since the marketplace launched in 2014.
The average rate ask for one insurer is nearly 65 percent, but the amount consumers actually will pay depends on factors such as age and income and how much state regulators allow insurers to raise rates.
Those hit the hardest are expected to be the people who are paying their own way.
According to a story on the Arizona Daily News, “As of December, about 155,000 Arizonans had coverage through the marketplace, a signature part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law. As of March, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said 203,000 Arizonans had signed up for policies, but there’s no way to determine how many of them have actually paid their premiums. The six insurers who filed for rate increases listed about 140,000 customers.”
HavasuNews.com added, “The rate increase filings don’t include employer-provided group plans that insure a much large number of people.”
Insurers claim they have taken significant financial losses under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). KVOA in Tucson wrote:
Blue Cross says it has lost $185 million on individual policies over the last two years. The company says in a statement that it’s asking for higher rates because its costs have ballooned as previously uninsured patients buy coverage, prescription costs go up and people with significant health issues come into the system.
The Department of Insurance will review the rate increase proposals to determine whether they are reasonable.
Share your thoughts on the potential rate hikes. How will it affect people living in your community? We already know the insurance marketplace in our state is shrinking, so this could hit some Arizonans hard. Generating conversations around important health issues, like this one, is essential if we truly hope to one day make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!