October 28, 2016 by Jessica Stephenson
Health Insurance Marketplace rates are increasing, but plans are likely to remain affordable for most.
In northern Arizona, 9 out of 10 will qualify for financial help.
Schedule your free enrollment appointment with a certified application counselor to see what savings you qualify for.
Since the Health Insurance Marketplace unveiled its new 2017 insurance plans on Monday, media outlets across the country have been reporting about steep rate increases. According to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), rates will increase by an average of 25% across the U.S. Although Marketplace insurance rates are going up in 2017, nearly nine out of ten northern Arizonans will qualify for financial help in the form of tax credits and cost sharing reductions, effectively cushioning these consumers from such rate hikes.
As rates increase, so does financial help
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) will be the only Marketplace insurance carrier available in 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties, including all of northern Arizona. The Arizona Department of Insurance approved BCBSAZ’s request to increase premium rates for the 2017 coverage year. Although rates will increase, those who qualify for tax credits may see that they qualify for larger tax credits. For some, this means there will be no change in their monthly premium cost. Federal officials estimate that, after receiving tax credits, roughly 75% of Marketplace consumers may be eligible to purchase a plan for less than $75 a month. Some may even qualify for a bronze plan with a $0 monthly premium.
Fewer choices available in Arizona
UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Cigna, Health Choice and Phoenix Health Plan are all leaving the Marketplace in Arizona. According to the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers (AACHC), approximately 125,000 current Marketplace consumers in Arizona will receive cancellation notices from their current issuer. Issuers and the Marketplace (healthcare.gov) will notify these consumers that their plan is being discontinued and the options, or option, available to them. Many of these consumers, if they do not take action to re-enroll, will be auto-enrolled in a new company’s plan after December 15. Marketplace customers living in northern Arizona will be auto-enrolled in a BCBSAZ plan.
Consumers will be able to browse five plans offered by BCBSAZ and can choose from different levels of coverage (bronze, silver and gold) offering different copays, deductibles, and premiums. Plan changes can be made during open enrollment, which begins Tuesday, November 1 and ends January 31, 2017.
North Country HealthCare is here to help
North Country HealthCare has certified application counselors on staff to assist consumers in reviewing their Marketplace options and renewing coverage for 2017. Enrollment appointments are free and available in both English and Spanish. North Country HealthCare is located in 14 communities across northern Arizona. Certified application counselors can also assist with AHCCCS, KidsCare and SNAP applications. To request your free enrollment appointment, click here.
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