Even Without Repeal, Arizona ACA Marketplace Could Be At Risk

By Will Stone
Published: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 5:05am
Updated: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 11:04am
(Photo by Sky Schaudt - KJZZ)
Arizonans can select coverage using healthcare.gov.

Even if Congress doesn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act, Arizona’s insurance marketplace could look much worse if President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to let the law fail.

It’s still unclear whether Congress will pass its own health-care law or not. But in the meantime, the Trump administration must take some key steps to keep the ACA’s marketplaces afloat, especially in states like Arizona. Chief among those — funding the so-called cost sharing subsidies that help offset high deductibles and co-pays and enforcing the individual mandate.

"We need to get lots of healthy young people to contribute to the market," said Swapna Reddy, a professor of health policy at Arizona State University. “In order to stabilize the market, not only do we need to keep the numbers where they are now but we really need to increase the numbers."

Reddy said the mandate and keeping premiums down are the best ways to accomplish that.

Last year, Arizona’s marketplace saw triple-digit premium increases and more insurers leaving the market. It’s not public yet how much insurers will raise rates for plans beginning in 2018, but the same two carriers —  Blue Cross Blue Shield and Centene — have said they intend to stay.

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