Washington, D.C. – A new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds that Arizona consumers will be able to choose from an average of 106 health plans (with a high of 111 in Phoenix) in the soon-to-be-established health insurance marketplace known as the exchange. Premiums nationwide will be around 16 percent lower than originally projected by the Congressional Budget Office – with about 95 percent of eligible uninsured Americans living in states with lower than expected premiums – even before accounting for financial assistance.
As Talking Points Memo explained today:
“This is the best news Arizona could have heard, and I sincerely hope we start hearing some honesty for a change from certain circles about how this law is designed to help people,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010. “More affordable health care is good for Arizonans, good for Americans and good for our economy. The law is getting people affordable insurance, cutting down on medical bankruptcy, and giving some help to a workforce afraid to change jobs because of health insurance instability. The dead-ender opponents of health care reform should explain why they object to Arizonans getting a better deal than they had previously.”
“We are excited to see that rates in the Arizona Marketplace are even lower than originally projected,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “In the past, consumers were too often denied or priced out of quality health insurance options, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act consumers will be able to choose from a number of new coverage options at a price that is affordable.”
When the exchange opens on Oct. 1, consumers will be able to apply for premium assistance and compare plans side-by-side based on pricing, quality and benefits. That date marks the beginning of a six-month open enrollment period that runs through March 2014. The new plans will kick in as early as next Jan. 1.
Today’s report finds that individuals in Arizona will have an average of 106 qualified health plan choices through the exchange. Plans in the Marketplace will be categorized as either “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze.” Young adults will also have the option of purchasing a “catastrophic” plan, increasing their number of choices.
According to HHS data reviewable at http://1.usa.gov/1916bom, a 27-year old living in Arizona who makes $25,000 per year will pay $120 per month for the lowest cost bronze plan and $145 per month for the second-lowest-cost silver plan if he or she takes advantage of available tax credits. For a family of four in Arizona with an income of $50,000 per year, the most affordable bronze plan would cost only $192 per month.
Consumers can get help finding Marketplace coverage through a number of different resources. They can get more information through HealthCare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov. They can participate in an online web chat or call 1-800-318-2596 toll free (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) to speak with a trained customer service representative with translation services available in 150 languages.
There will also be people in local communities who can provide in-person help with coverage choices. Those will include Navigators and other assisters, community health centers across the country, local libraries, and hundreds of Champions for Coverage that have signed up to help consumers learn about their options.
To become a Champion for Coverage, visit http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/champion.html.