AZ health insurance premiums expected to drop in 2019

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The rising cost of health insurance is a hot topic, whether you're at the doctor's office or hanging out at a coffee shop..

"Over the last two years, I've been paying around $700 a month for a family of four," said small business owner Josh Zaragoza.

Arizona has seen some of the highest annual increases in the country.

In fact, President Trump once singled Arizona out, calling the state's 116 percent premium increase in 2017 as proof that the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, wasn't working.

But times have changed.

The health care consulting firm Avalere predicts that Arizona could see premiums drop 4.2 percent in 2019.

And that's big news to a lot of hard working Arizonans like Elizabeth Snyder of Phoenix, who works for a non-profit in the West Valley.

"I'm working on paying off student loans and getting my Masters' degree," said Snyder. "Any time there's a way to cut back somewhere else, that's great."

The average premium in Arizona is expected to drop from $630 a month to $604, before government subsidies.

But why exactly is the cost of health insurance going down?

Allen Gjersvig, with the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers said it's a combination of things.

The ACA marketplace is more stable, insurance companies having 5-plus years of data to base their rates, and insurance carriers are more profitable.

"Insurance Brokers didn't really understand it, the website didn't work, so what we're seeing is a natural stabilization," said Gjersvig. "The insurance companies would not be lowering their rates if they weren't seeing satisfactory margins. I don't have that information, but it's just logical that they're going to adjust rates."

At least two additional health insurers will be joining the ACA Marketplace in Maricopa County in 2019.

It will give consumers more options, and should help keep prices in check, according to Gjersvig.

To learn more about what health insurance options are available through the ACA marketplace you can visit www.aachc.org or call 602-288-7554.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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