Arizona Health Premiums In Federal Marketplace Go Down

Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 4:54pm

Premiums for health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace are going down in Arizona, according to new federal government data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

It’s the second straight year of decline. 

The data uses a 27-year old patient enrolled in the second-lowest cost “silver” plan as a benchmark. Those premiums will be $362 in 2020, which is 6% lower than they were in 2019. 

“The insurance companies are starting to better understand what the marketplace population looks like, what the claims will be,” said Marcus Johnson, director of State Health Policy and Advocacy at Vitalyst Health Foundation. “They can better anticipate exactly what their costs are going to be.”

Arizona’s ACA premiums for that benchmark plan were much lower in 2016, at $196. The price then jumped to $423 in 2017 and stayed steady in 2018 at $426 before dropping to $384 in 2019.

The benchmark premium is just one particular snapshot. Other plans may cost more or less, depending on the services they cover and the amount of the deductible and co-pays.

Many ACA customers will qualify for federal subsidies to help with premium costs. Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

“Of the uninsured population remaining in Arizona, there’s a large majority of them are still eligible for either for Medicaid coverage or a marketplace plan where they could get a zero premium plan, essentially,” he said. “They’d still have a relatively high deductible.”

The data also said marketplace customers in Maricopa County will have at least five insurers to choose from, one more than last year. Pinal, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, and Santa Cruz counties also added an insurer.

Johnson said about 3% of Arizonans get their health insurance from the online marketplaces.

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