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Infographic: Open Enrollment Rate Update — How Much Will Phoenix Health Insurance Premiums Increase in 2017?

Posted Dec 09, 2016 by Jenifer Dorsey

What you can do to deal with rising rates

Will health insurance rates go up in 2017? The Department of Health and Human Services recently answered that question: Yes, by an average of 25 percent.[1]

Charles Gaba at ACA Signups, who previously estimated a 25 percent increase in individual health plan premiums (unsubsidized) for 2017 across all markets nationally, has calculated a weighted average rate increase of 57 percent for approved Arizona individual market plans (unsubsidized).[2],[3]

Under the Affordable Care Act, if the only health insurance plans available to someone exceed 8.16 percent of their income (this is the amount for 2017), then they may qualify for a hardship exemption [...]

For people living in Phoenix, which could be called the U.S. epicenter of rate increases and lack of competition in the market, rate hikes are well above the national and the Arizona average. In Maricopa County, consumers who shop HealthCare.gov will have only one option when it comes to insurance companies: Centene Corp., which sells Ambetter plans.[4] The approved rate increase for 2017 Centene/Ambetter plans? 74.5 percent.[5] Of the four Ambetter plans available, only one is bronze.

Phoenix sees higher-than-average premium hikes for 2017

Those living in Maricopa Country who were covered by another carrier in 2016 and will no longer have that option could see their monthly health insurance rates increase even more significantly and they may also be forced to find new doctors.

In Phoenix, a 35-year-old would need to make between $45,000 and $65,000 per year to qualify for a hardship exemption, which would claimed on that individual’s federal tax return.

To see how middle-class individuals and families who buy Obamacare plans and do not qualify for subsidies will be impacted, we obtained quotes for the lowest-cost bronze plans available in Maricopa County through HealthCare.gov in 2016 and 2017. In comparing these finalized rates, we found premium increases of 176 percent across the board for the brackets we quoted – 35-year-old male nonsmoker; 45-year-old male nonsmokers; and a family of four with a two male and two female members, all nonsmoking.[6]

We then broke down these rates and increases, and then compared them with other household expenses.

 

 

Is there anything Phoenix residents can do to lower health insurance costs?

Under the Affordable Care Act, if the only health insurance plans available to someone exceed 8.16 percent of their income (this is the amount for 2017), then they may qualify for a hardship exemption from the individual shared responsibility provision and thereby can avoid the tax penalty.[7] In Phoenix, a 35-year-old would need to make between $45,000 and $65,000 per year to qualify for a hardship exemption, which would claimed on that individual’s federal tax return.

Even with an exemption, consumers may want to consider some form of healthcare benefits to help lower out-of-pocket exposure to medical bills. Anyone taking an exemption or shopping for individual and family health plans in the private market or through HealthCare.gov may want to consider working with a local, licensed health insurance agent. These individuals can help you navigate coverage options, including Obamacare plans as well as supplemental coverage such as critical illness, dental, hospital indemnity, and medical gap products to help lower out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

 

Find a Phoenix agent now

Originally published on November 3, 2016.

 


[1] Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo. “Obama Health Plan Hit by Double-Digit Premium Hikes.” AP. Oct. 25, 2016. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/4e2846e6f17a4c4482d5b8c1243b85dd/obama-health-plan-hit-double-digit-premium-hikes

[2] Gaba, Charles. “Did I Overestimate 2017 Avg Unsubsidized Rate Hikes??? Nope.” Blog. ACASignups.com.  Oct. 25, 2016. http://acasignups.net/16/10/25/did-i-overestimate-2017-avg-unsubsidized-rate-hikes-nope

[3] Gaba, Charles. “Arizona: Approved *Unsubsidized* 2017 Indy Mkt Rate Hikes: 57%.” Blog. ACASignups.com.  Oct. 17, 2016. http://acasignups.net/16/10/17/arizona-approved-unsubsidized-2017-indy-mkt-rate-hikes-57

[4] Alltucker, Ken. “‘Obamacare’ in Arizona: 2 Remaining Insurers Hike Rates By 50-75 Percent.” The Republic. Oct. 19, 2016 http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/health/2016/10/19/obamacare-arizona-two-remaining-health-insurers-hike-rates-by-half-and-three-fourth/92374528/

[5] Ibid.

[6] Rates acquired through HealthCare.gov and INSXCloud on Oct. 25, 2016. 35-year-old male, nonsmoker, 2016 Phoenix Choice Bronze HMO Abrazo premium: $154.13 per month; 2017 Ambetter From Health Net (Bronze, HMO) premium: $426.03; 45-year-old male, nonsmoker, 2016 Phoenix Choice Bronze HMO Abrazo premium: $182.13; 2017 Ambetter From Health Net (Bronze, HMO) premium: $503.42; nonsmoking family of four, including two parents (a male and a female, both 45 years old), a 7-year-old daughter, and a 13-year-old son, 2016 Phoenix Choice Bronze HMO Abrazo premium: $524.44, 2017 Ambetter From Health Net (Bronze, HMO) premium: $1,449.60

[7] Internal Revenue Service. 26 CFR 601.105: Examination of returns and claims for refund, credit, or abatement; determination of correct tax liability. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-16-24.pdf

This document is for general informational purposes only. While we have attempted to provide current and accurate information, this information is provided "as is" and we make no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should not be construed as legal or tax advice or as a recommendation of any kind. External users should seek professional advice from their own attorneys and tax and benefit plan advisers with respect to their individual circumstances and needs.

METAL GAP
THIS PLAN IS NOT CONSIDERED TO BE MINIMAL ESSENTIAL COVERAGE AS DEFINED BY THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA). ENROLLING IN AND MAINTAINING THIS PLAN WILL NOT EXEMPT YOU FROM THE SHARED RESPONSIBILITY PAYMENT (TAX) THAT MAY APPLY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PLAN WITH ACA-COMPLIANT COVERAGE.

HOSPITAL INDEMNITY
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DENTAL
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CRITICAL ILLNESS
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Independence Holding Company (NYSE: IHC) is a holding company that is principally engaged in underwriting, administering and/or distributing group and individual disability, specialty and supplemental health, pet, and life insurance through its subsidiaries since 1980. The IHC Group owns three insurance companies (Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York, Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. and Independence American Insurance Company) and IHC Specialty Benefits, Inc., which is a technology-driven insurance sales and marketing company that creates value for insurance producers, carriers and consumers (both individuals and small businesses) through a suite of proprietary tools and products (including ACA plans and small group medical stop-loss). All products are placed with highly rated carriers.

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IHC Specialty Benefits, Inc., doing business as Health eDeals Insurance Solutions is a full-service marketing and distribution company that focuses on small employer, individual and consumer products. Health eDeals markets products via general agents online, telebrokerage, advisor centers, private label and directly to consumers. For more information about Health eDeals visit http://www.HealtheDeals.com.