PHOENIX – Health coverage in Arizona under the Accordable Care Act is at its highest level in three years as enrollment continued to rise in April during a special open enrollment period, according to the latest government data.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that 17,081 Arizonans had selected insurance plans for 2021 from Feb. 15 to April 30. They were just some of the 939,575 Americans who covered during this period.
New enrollments add to the 154,504 Arizona people who enrolled during last fall’s regular open enrollment for 2021 coverage and the 8.25 million Americans who enrolled in the same period.
The Biden administration announced the special open registration period in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue until August 15th. Despite the apparent success of the first edition, however, advocates and experts say there are still challenges, especially for those in underserved communities.
Claudia Maldonado works at Keogh Health Connection, helping people navigate the different insurance markets to find the plan that best suits their needs. The process can be overwhelming, he said.
“When you see the Arizona Health Care Costing System (AHCCCS), there’s the Arizona Children’s Health Insurance Program (KidsCare) and the market, and you’re sitting there like you scratch your head saying, “Well, what’s for me? ‘”
Maldonado also highlighted the importance of not adhering to a specific health care option, stating that the Affordable Care Act expands enrollment to all markets Arizona offers.
“It’s important for people to have health care options and the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act – it has a lot of different pieces,” he said. “So basically, for us, we’ve been able to give people another option that could work for them.”
According to HealthCareInsider, the purpose of a health insurance market is for everything to be a “one-stop shop” for choosing different options. In Arizona, many organizations that help connect people with health insurance have browsers that guide them through the process.
As a navigator at Keogh Health Connections, which also provides nutritional assistance and financial support in times of personal struggle, Livby Pearson works directly with people seeking health insurance, especially when the enrollment period closes.
“And to have another registration open, right now, it’s also important because of customers who didn’t get the chance or because of all the uncertainties with COVID, they couldn’t register,” Pearson said. “This gives them another chance to do it, see their options and sign up and get the health care they need.”
Census data showed that, nationally, Hispanics had the lowest health insurance coverage rate in the country, with a number of uninsured Latinos rising from 16.2% in 2017 to 17.8% in 2018, more than double the national average of 7.9% and 8.5% in those years.
Cynthia Aragon is the executive assistant at Helping Families in Need, an organization that works with people who may not have access to resources.
“They’re facing a lot of barriers, tackling even more barriers and how we can help change those barriers or move them … be there for the community,” Aragon said.
Keogh Health Connection and Helping Families in Need have had to move away from direct community outreach to a virtual environment, due to the pandemic, but continue to work with those who now meet the benefits of the Care Act. affordable prices.
The number of people who have achieved coverage in this special enrollment period has been two to three times higher than during the same period of previous years, when enrollment was limited to those who lost work-based policies or experienced others. major problems. life events, such as a birth or divorce.
According to CMS data, enrollment from February 15 to April 30 nationwide was 391,000 people last year and 266,000 in 2019, compared to nearly 940,000 this year. In Arizona, the numbers went from 6,046 in 2019 to 7,725 in 2020 at 17,081 this year.
After several years of steady premiums, the five companies offering insurance coverage in the ACA market offered plans for 2021 ranging from a 7% reduction in premiums to a 9% increase, according to HealthInsurance .org. But the government says the additional aid approved in the U.S. bailout plan in March should help reduce the monthly premiums of many consumers.
COVID-19-related open special enrollment in Arizona health insurance markets will close Aug. 15, but will reopen in November for 2022 coverage and follow pre-pandemic prerequisites.