Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arizona Obamacare Premiums DECREASE 10% For Key Health Insurance Benchmark Policy; Arizona, New Mexico Lowest In Nation

(This article contributed by Tempe attorney Paul Weich, and Tempe insurance agent George Fontaine. Mr. Fontaine, of RSP Insurance, is a Certified Health Insurance Marketplace agent.)

Lost in all of  the news coverage* of the 2nd open enrollment period for health insurance policies in Arizona's Obamacare Marketplace is that premiums for the benchmark policy dropped 10% from last year.  Also, that New Mexico and Arizona have the lowest premiums in the nation for that policy.

The non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation compared the 2014 and 2015 premiums for the second-lowest "silver" plan in the largest city of each state**. That 2nd-lowest is the benchmark used in calculating the amount of financial assistance an individual may receive (along with other factors).

For a 40-year old non-smoker (the plans cannot distinguish between men and women), the 2nd lowest silver plan in the Phoenix area is $177/month.  It is offered by Meritus, and is their Neighborhood Network Silver HMO MIHS plan.  Here is the basic synopsis, from Arizona's Marketplace (set up by HHS). (This year, you can easily click on links to the Summary of Benefits and the Provider Directory; last year, you had to visit each insurer's website separately.)

The various categories of plans (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Catastrophic) "differ based on how (the customer and insurance company) share the costs of care."

Arizona has 11 different insurance companies offering 44 different silver plans through the Marketplace.  That is a substantial increase from the first year of the Marketplace.  As last year, there are Navigators available to help individuals and families figure out how much premium assistance is available.  HHS has worked closer with insurance agents this year, and many have taken courses to help choose the best plan.

(This article contributed by Tempe attorney Paul Weich and Tempe insurance agent George FontaineMr. Fontaine, of RSP Insurance, is a Certified Health Insurance Marketplace agent. )

* And certainly lost in the flood of negative campaign ads.

** The table only looks at 47 states and the District of Columbia. Arizona's Politics did not determine which three states are MIA, and why.

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