Arizona Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act introduced several laws to protect patients and improve access to insurance. The law prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and requires that all policies meet certain basic criteria, such as covering preventive care and limiting out-of-pocket expenses. In order to make these changes possible, the law has also introduced a mandate that requires all individuals to purchase health insurance. This deepens the risk pool and prevents people from buying insurance only when they’re sick.
As a result of these laws, Arizona health insurance has undergone some major improvements. The state will expand Medicaid coverage to provide more health care benefits to low-income families.
What is a health insurance marketplace?
A health insurance marketplace or exchange is a website that provides information about all available policies in a state. Once you sign up with the site during open enrollment, you’ll be asked a few questions about where you live, how much money you make and the size of your family. After that information is provided, you will be matched with the available insurance plans in your area. You’ll also be informed about whether you qualify for an insurance subsidy.
After the Affordable Care Act was signed, states were given a choice between establishing their own insurance exchange and partnering with the government to offer insurance through a federal exchange. Arizona was one of 27 states that chose to use the federal exchange. This means Arizona residents should use HealthCare.gov to choose an insurance policy.
Do I qualify for a health insurance subsidy?
Insurance subsidies are available to many Arizona residents to help offset the cost of health insurance. This federal tax subsidy is applied directly to your premiums to reduce the monthly cost of your policy. Subsidies are available to people with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level for their family size. Subsidies will typically be based on 2013 poverty level limits, and Medicare and CHIP qualification will typically be based on 2014 limits.
In general, this means individuals with incomes between $11,490 and $45,960 may receive a subsidy; a family of four that earns between $23,550 and $94,200 may qualify.
Companies in Arizona participating in the exchange
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
- Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co.
- Health Choice Insurance
- Health Net of Arizona and Health Net Life Insurance Co.
- Humana Health Plan
- Meritus Mutual Health Partners and Meritus Health Partners
- University of Arizona Health Plans
Health insurance for low-income families
Arizona is one of the states that chose to expand Medicaid to provide affordable health care to low-income families. Medicaid is available to adults with monthly incomes below $1,273.
Children in low-income families can also qualify for Medicaid coverage. Infants in families with monthly incomes below $1,408 per month can receive Medicaid benefits. Older children qualify when their families earn less than $1,350 per month. There is no longer a Children’s Health Insurance Plan in Arizona.
Arizona health and coverage statistics
Arizona population (2013): 6,626,624
Population 65 and older (2012): 14.8 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 79.6 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 1,198,100
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 869,400
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 1,167,700
Overall state health ranking: 28
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Arizona health insurance resources
HealthCare.Gov (where Arizona residents can buy health insurance on the marketplace): https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/b/welcome/
Arizona Department of Health Services: http://www.azdhs.gov/
Arizona Department of Insurance: http://www.azinsurance.gov/
Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services: https://www.azdes.gov/daas/
Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/tag/arizona/