Insurers to exit Arizona healthcare marketplace

Posted at 6:12 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 08:27:55-04

The health marketplace in Arizona is getting smaller.

In 2016, eight companies offered insurance plans in our state.

As it stands now, that number is expected to drop to three in 2017.

Health insurance expert Louise Norris tracks effects and changes in the marketplace with

She says a company's participation the healthcare marketplace comes down to one thing:

"If they aren't making money in that segment of their business it's hard to convince them to stay," Norris said. 

She says Aetna, United, Humana, Health Choice and Phoenix Health Plan are bowing out

Blue cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Health Net and Cigna are still in.  

At this point, every county will have at least one carrier with various levels of coverage and price points.

But things could change between now and the November 1 beginning of open enrollment.

According to Norris, Arizona is not alone. She explained that insurers are leaving exchanges in states all over the country for financial reasons.

Another expected change for 2017 is higher premiums.

Arizona premiums are still in the process of being approved but nationwide the numbers are going up.

"The average rate increase in the individual market is shaking out to be around 25 percent," Norris said.

That's nearly double the 2016 increase but Norris said there's a reason for the spike.

"When carriers were pricing their plans for 2014 and even for 2015 it was basically just an educated guess," she said.  "General consensus is we are probably not going to see this level of rate increases going into the future it will probably stabilize."

So what can you do until then?

Norris said subsidies from the government should balance out for most consumers.
"As those prices climb the subsidies will climb to keep pace with the premium."

And if you make too much for the subsidies, you can still buy directly from any insurer who offers coverage in the state on or off of the exchange.

Norris said the system is still a work in progress but for now consumers around Arizona still have affordable insurance options and can't be turned down for pre-existing conditions.

"They'll be something from everyone from that one carrier at least."

Confused? You can get free help finding a plan through Open enrollment is November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017.

Need my help?

Call the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers at 1-855-323-1515. You can also send me an email or a video explaining the problem.

And you can reach me on Twitter  or "like" the Let Joe Know Facebook and tell me about it there.