Higher premiums trigger decline in Arizona insurance signups

AP | Az State Wire | By BOB CHRISTIE | March 20, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - A doubling of individual health insurance premiums in Arizona for 2017 triggered a sharp decline in Affordable Care Act signups among people who don't qualify for tax credits that offset their costs, according to a new analysis.

The review by University of Arizona health insurance expert Dr. Daniel Derksen of data released by the federal government last week shows a 23 percent decrease in enrollment by that group. Derksen's review of analysis shows the number of people buying insurance who qualify for the tax credits rose by more than 3 percent.

Overall, Arizona saw a 3.3 percent enrollment decline in marketplace plans that are a key component of former President Barack Obama's heath care law, to about 196,000 people.

The study comes as the Republican-led Congress is debating dramatic changes to the Obama-era law. Arizona, with its eye-popping premium increases, is one of President Donald Trump's most cited examples as he tries to make the case that the ACA is collapsing of its own weight.

But Derksen's research shows there are actually two simultaneous running stories about the ACA: While in Arizona some consumers who were not eligible for the law's income-based subsidies dropped coverage in the face of rising premiums, Arizonans who do get subsidies on average saw a slight decline in what they have to pay.

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