By CHAD GARLAND/Cronkite News Service
WASHINGTON — Arizona residents will be offered health insurance plans with some of the lowest premiums in the country when federal insurance marketplaces begin open enrollment Tuesday under Obamacare, the government said.
The report by the Department of Health and Human Services said Arizona’s premiums were as low as fourth-lowest, and no worse than 12th-cheapest, when different policy levels were compared among 47 states and the District of Columbia.
Eleven states and the District will run their own plans, while 36 states – including Arizona – will have marketplaces managed by the federal government.
In Arizona, the rates ranged from an apparent low of $120 a month for a single 27-year-old on a basic plan to as much as $705 for a 64-year-old with a high-end coverage plan, according to the report.
Those are averages for those groups in Arizona — actual rates will vary based on where a consumer lives, their income and age, and rates may be revised before the marketplaces open Oct. 1, the report said.
No matter their age or where they live, however, consumers in Arizona will be able to choose from more than 75 plans and at least six insurers. The average for the 36 federally managed states was 53 plans and eight insurers, though Alabama and West Virginia will have just one or two insurers and a handful of plans.
“In those states that have lots of insurers competing with each other and are offering many different choices for consumers, those rates tend to be lower,” said Dr. Dan Derksen, director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Rural Health. “That’s what the market is intended to do.”
Derksen said the rates might have surprised some people, but he called the report “welcome news” and said the rates seemed affordable for the uninsured.