Arizonans were lucky and paid some of the lowest individual insurance premiums in the U.S. when policies were first available under President Obama’s health care overhaul laws in 2014.
Premiums Up 116% in 2017
In 2017, many people who buy plans on the federal marketplace have seen premiums jump by 116% on average! In Maricopa, those premiums jumps may even be higher.
About 75% of the people enrolled in plans this year are receiving subsidies to help pay their premiums, and those subsidies will go along with premiums.
However, the other 25% of people who make too much to qualify for subsidies because the ear more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, are getting hit hard.
Key Facts Responsible for Premium Increases
An analysis of price increases by the Associated Press and health care consulting firm Avalere looked at the premium of a 50-year-old non-smoker buying a benchmark “silver” plan. In Maricopa County, this plan increased by 145%, from $289 per month to $708 per month. The top seven percentage increasing counties in our state include Maricopa, La Paz, Gila, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma.
Health Care Choices Very Limited
Choices for health care plans are becoming slim. Pima County only has more than one insurer to choose from, and on of those is offering catastrophic coverage not suitable to many people.
Maricopa County, for instance, had 11 insurers in 2015 and eight in 2016. Insurers such as United Health Care and Humana pulled out because of big losses. HealthNet is on the only insurer now offering health care covered. Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona no longer offers coverage in Maricopa under the federal plan.
Why Premiums Are Skyrocketing
According to experts, there are several reasons why premiums are going up. Younger people aren’t signing up for sufficient insurance coverage, which affects the number of people in the plans who are unhealthy and are more expensive for insurers. Enrollment of younger people has not increased, leaving the high-need population enrolled, which increases medical costs. That has prompted many insurers to leave the market.
In addition, for the first three years of the law, a pair of government backstops for insurer losses ended, so companies are raising prices to build a cushion for unexpected costs.
Pharmacy Costs Going Higher
Another trend influencing the rising cost of health insurance is the skyrocketing costs of pharmaceuticals. As Reid Rasmussen reported in a recent article, up to 40 percent of the medical plan cost will be drugs by 2025.
Health Care Membership Plans
West Valley Care is trying to help patients afford their medical care by offering affordable membership programs which include office visits. To learn more, click here. Call 623-334-8671 to enroll today!
Source: Tuscon.com “Key Facts About Rising Arizona Health Insurance Premiums”.