It’s called the “Affordable Care Act (ACA),” but for many Arizonans…it might not be all that affordable in 2017. The cost of marketplace plans is skyrocketing in our state next year so people will have to dig deeper for their health insurance – much deeper!
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona will sell marketplace plans in all counties but Maricopa, hiking rates 51 percent. Centene Corp. will sell “Ambetter” plans in Maricopa, with 74.5 percent rate hike.
The amount ACA customers pay will vary depending on factors such as age, coverage levels and income, which determine whether an individual qualifies for subsidies that help offset the cost of monthly premiums. Nearly 7 in 10 Arizonans with a marketplace plan get subsidized coverage.
The Department of Insurance said a 40-year-old single Maricopa County resident who does not use tobacco would be charged an average rate of $475 per month for a mid-tier “silver” plan before subsidies. A 40-year-old couple with two children would pay $1,422 per month for a family plan before subsidies.
The ACA marketplace was originally designed with the idea that there would be several insurance companies that would battle over customers. In theory – that might be a way to keep prices in check. However – only one Arizona county, Pima, will have a choice next year. For everyone else….there is only one option.
Published reports indicate that about 8-in-10 Arizonans receive subsidies, but those who do not receive will be hit hard – and not only in the wallet. According to KJZZ Radio:
The biggest challenges for most people buying coverage will be switching plans and finding new doctors.
“Folks are going to have to deal with their provider relationships becoming upset or discontinued because these are HMO products that have very limited benefits out of network,”insurance analyst Jim Hammond, publisher of the Hertel Report, said.
Other insurers will be offering plans off the exchange this year, but most are also raising rates by about 70 percent.
A recent story in Money Magazine highlights how dramatic our rates are rising compared to other states. Below are a few examples of other ‘big’ increases across the country.
- Georgia – 32%
- Pennsylvania – 33%
- Nebraska – 35%
- Alabama – 36%
- Illinois – 44%
- Tennessee – 44%-to-62%
- Minnesota – 50%-to-67%
- Oklahoma – 76%
Open enrollment begins in less than two weeks, so let us know your thoughts on the effect these increases will have on Arizonans. A willingness to discuss controversial health issues is critical if we hope to find solutions that will help the people who live in our state. It will also help us take another step toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!