It’s time to buy health insurance. 2018 open enrollment for individual ACA plans is underway and lasts through Dec. 15, 2017. With the Trump administration in office, talk of repealing and replacing Obamacare, and decisions to end cost-sharing reduction subsidies, there has been a lot of healthcare news to follow this year.
However, change is something we’ve all come to expect with each open enrollment season, and this time is no different. In addition to a shorter enrollment period, consumers in many states will notice rate hikes and dwindling carrier options.
This article is the first in a series examining rates, affordable options and coverage alternatives in markets across the U.S.
Arizona vs the nation
How does Arizona’s health insurance landscape compare with the rest of the country?
When it comes to plan premiums, it really depends on which metal level you select. Nationwide, the average price of a benchmark plan – the second-lowest-cost silver plan available in an area – increased 38 percent in 2018, and the average price of bronze plans increased 18 percent.1
In some markets, such as Phoenix, Arizona, rates didn’t increase dramatically. The lowest-cost bronze plan premium actually decreased, and benchmark plan premiums went up just a fraction over 1 percent.2
When it comes to carrier and plan options, Maricopa County is among the 51 percent of U.S. counties with only a single health insurance company offering individual health plans through the state’s exchange.3
Plan premiums, options
Here’s a brief overview of carrier and plan options as well as rate changes in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, and how they changed from 2017 to 2018. These rates are before any premium tax credits have been applied.
Arizona Health Insurance Marketplace
Rates for a 35-year-old living in 85006
|2017 Premium||2018 Premium||Percent Change||2017 Deductible||2018 Deductible||Percent Change|
|2nd lowest-cost silver||$484.70||$490.56||1.2%||$4,200||$4,200||N/A|
Rates for a 45-year-old living in 85006
|2017 premium||2018 premium||Percent change||2017 deductible||2018 deductible||Percent change|
|2nd lowest-cost silver||$572.75||$579.68||1.2%||$4,200||$4,200||N/A|
Whether your plan premium increased or decreased, you may find value in shopping around and comparing plans rather than automatically renewing your existing coverage.
For starters, you may find you are eligible for a low-cost or no-cost bronze plan.4 How so? Because premium tax credits are based on the second-lowest-cost silver plan in your area and bronze plan rates increased less than silver plan rates.5
Additionally, what the IRS considers to be unaffordable has changed. In 2018, if the lowest-priced ACA health insurance plan available to you costs more than 8.05 percent of your household income, it is considered unaffordable; in 2017, the threshold was 8.16 percent.6 If you find yourself in this situation, you could be exempt from the individual mandate and tax penalty; in which case, you might consider alternative coverage options such as a hospital indemnity plan, short term medical insurance or both to help with unexpected medical expenses.
Even with subsidies and exemptions, it can still be difficult and confusing to shop for and select the right health insurance plan. Don’t go it alone. A licensed producer can assist you in finding the right ACA plan as well as other affordable options.
Call the number at the top of your screen to speak with an advisor from HealtheDeals.com right now.