Arizona’s Healthcare Future

The next few months may turn into a bumpy ride for some 200,000 Arizonans who receive their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Whether you agree or disagree with President-elect Donald Trump’s vow to repeal and replace the ACA once he is in office…..it’s hard to deny that massive healthcare changes will also bring a level of uncertainty about the future.

With that in mind – health care advocates met in Tucson yesterday to urge Mr. Trump not to repeal the ACA until there is a replacement in place. From Arizona Public Media.

The advocates said Obamacare is not perfect but any replacement plan needs to include certain elements of the law. Those elements include allowing children to stay on their parent’s health plan until they are 26 years old, allowing pre-existing conditions and banning lifetime caps.

(Democratic state Senator David) Bradley said the Medicaid expansion passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer must also be maintained. He said if the expansion ends the state will have a $300 million hole in the budget.

KOLD-TV in Tucson put together a short video report with some local reaction to the uncertain future of Obamacare in our state. Click here or on the picture below to watch the story.

future

A recent Fox News Poll indicates that 68 percent of Americans believe Mr. Trump will repeal and replace Obamacare. However, there are conflicting reports as to how quickly both of those can be done – if the new administration is committed to having a replacement in place before the law is repealed.

Share your thoughts on what the next few months may look like for healthcare in our state….and how the 200,000 Arizonans who get their insurance through the ACA may be be affected. Do you believe a replacement plan has to be in place before the law should be repealed? Should any parts of Obamacare remain? Generating these types of productive conversations will be critical if we hope to ease some of the uncertainty that will likely surround healthcare in 2017. One thing we are certain about – is our unwavering commitment to continue to work toward our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

One thought on “Arizona’s Healthcare Future

  1. I was terminated from my job 2/28/2014, so just in time to enroll before the deadline that March. I’ve been using the marketplace since. I am disabled, collecting LTDis through my job, and I’ve applied and appealed SSA, for SSDI & Medicare etc. since Nov 2013. I have a pre-existing condition, I’m only in my 40s, and I rely on the ACA in several different ways. I just got my favorable decision and I’m waiting on my paperwork to enroll in Medicare. But in the meantime, I did my 2017 application and chose a plan for 1/1/2017.

    Of course in 2014, there were issues with the website. Nothing too troubling. I believe I had about 110 plans to choose from that first year. I chose a plan that best fit my needs, good prescription coverage, specialists, and my PCP was in network, etc.

    In 2015, I completed the application and changed plans and insurance companies. Again, there were lots to choose from. Less than 2014 but plenty of options in each type. My premium increased but I got a better plan, Gold. The process was pretty simple again. That year though I needed some guidance to remove my son, as he aged out. We did two separate applications and I worked with the call center more. Great customer service and the website improved. I was glad I choose the Gold plan because I had an increase in my medical needs that year. Specialists and a surgery with doctors of my choosing.

    In 2016, it was a little more complicated because the number of plans diminished and in order to keep a similar plan, my premium increased by 50% with my insurance provider. I went from roughly $300/month medical expenses in 2015 to about $600/month in 2016. That’s including premiums, doctor copays and prescription copays. (More info below.) I got a lot less of a subsidy this year as well. Not sure why, as my fixed income has remained the same since 2014. But I needed the better plan and I’m glad I did. 2016 was a tough year with ER, hospital stays, and surgery. I was paying a lot each month but I used it a lot and actually met my max out of pocket midyear. The application process on the website was a lot better in 2016, as they added more links to doctors directory and medication lists. The process was fairly simple. My biggest complaint was the major changes my provider made to mental health coverage. I previously had no copay for therapy (same co as my old job) with my marketplace provider. Unlimited therapy as needed with zero cost. It alleviated a lot of stress knowing I wasn’t bound by insurance limitations. But in 2016, a therapist became a specialist with this provider. So my copay went from $0 to $50 each visit. That’s $200-250/month. In addition to the 50% increase in my premium with higher deductibles. I was livid in January 2016. But my anger wasn’t at Obama or the marketplace. It was with the greedy insurance company. I was counting on reform to ACA that would add mental health as preventive care in the future after seeing HRC policies on MH & addiction. I wrote letters to Flake & McCain calling for reform not repeal. I also made a few complaints to the provider for categorizing a therapist as a specialist. She was not a doctor. The only reason I was able to continue treatment this year was because I hit my max out of pocket and therapy was free again by April. I have a lot of medical debt to pay off but it was a relief to not have to come up with $250 each month.

    My 2017 application took me 10-15 minutes on my phone. It was so easy. My subsidy increased significantly this year. I think the income limits changed. But I had been listening to the hype that AZ premiums went up 122%. And less plans with smaller networks. I was pleasantly surprised by the truth tho. My provider is no longer an option. I could only choose between 2 plans. Silver and Gold with the same provider I had back in 2014. They created a whole new network and name for their plans. And several hospitals and doctors are included. Including my 3 doctors I don’t want to ever lose. And the best part, my premium decreased by $6. No 122% increase. 2016 was the year of price hikes, not 2017. I know some of the issue is the subsidy amount but regardless, it went down not up. And the deductible is lower. Some areas are better coverage than my 2016 plan.

    I might only have this new plan for the month of January, assuming I get Medicare and cancel next month. But the process was seamless this year and the plans offered fit my needs and budget. $300 a month is a lot. But I use it a lot so I am okay paying for what I need.

    So with all that said, we need reform, not repeal. Behavior Health coverage reform is my first initiative. This is preventive care in so many ways. If people had access to good mental health providers and services, addiction to drugs and alcohol would decrease. Ppl become addicts bc most are numbing emotional pain and trauma. My list of reasons is long and I’ve written enough. But my point is reform and tweak. Not repeal. The issue is the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies raising costs. Reform that situation, make it more competitive in some way. Change the way ACA is funded if you have to. Or how the mandate is enforced. But the website is great. And the laws included in ACA are needed.

    ACA effects everyone. Not just the 20 million plus ppl using the marketplace. That’s only a portion of the population. The Medicaid and Medicare expansions, preventive care, women’s health, affordable prescription copays are all part of ACA. Not to mention the pre-existing conditions and caps, and kids to age 26.

    Thank You for fighting this battle! Tell me what else I can do to help! Flake & McCain don’t seem to listen to their constituents.

    Lastly, why isn’t the HHS doing a survey of the millions of ppl on the exchanges etc. asking about what works and doesn’t. Survey the population, doctors, hospitals etc. like they do for Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Most of the country believes in healthcare for all. Most don’t want repeal. And most, if not all, certainly don’t want cut backs w Medicare and Medicaid. Not after getting the additional benefits/preventive care and then taking it away and other services too. Before reforming and repealing and replacing…ASK US what is wrong or needed. A few old white men deciding healthcare for this entire country without even asking us what we need and want is criminal. They take advantage of ignorance. Label it Obamacare vs ACA so those that opppose his administration automatically oppose the law. Most don’t even know the law. They just want costs cut.

    I’ve used the marketplace for 3 years. Never lost my doctors. Paid my fair share. But no one making decisions about my healthcare has asked me a single question. Why?

    Like

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