By Mark Richardson
Health-care advocates say despite a lot of media buzz, rumors of the demise of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been greatly exaggerated.
Open enrollment for health insurance plans through the Arizona Health Insurance Marketplace is under way now through Dec. 15, with a variety of low- or no-cost plans available across the state.
According to the nonprofit Cover Arizona Coalition, depending on where you live, there are a number of different health plans to choose from for 2021.
“Health insurance is available now, regardless of what we hear in the news. Regardless if families have heard that the Affordable Care Act is gone, it is the law of the land and it will be the law of the land for the foreseeable future.”
Marcus Johnson, Vitalyst Health Foundation
Marcus Johnson, director of state health policy for the Vitalyst Health Foundation, said despite the political and legal wrangling, the ACA, also known as Obamacare, is here to stay.
“Health insurance is available now, regardless of what we hear in the news,” Johnson confirmed. “Regardless if families have heard that the Affordable Care Act is gone, it is the law of the land and it will be the law of the land for the foreseeable future.”
Johnson said the Arizona Marketplace has improved from just a single plan available in 2018 to as many as seven plans to choose among in 2021, depending on where you live.
There will be at least one plan available in each of Arizona’s 15 counties.
The ACA is designed to help those who are unemployed, self-employed, or whose employer does not provide coverage.
Johnson added, depending on their income, most participants will be eligible for financial help with monthly premiums.
“Individuals who earn under $51,000 or families of four who earn even under $105,000 can qualify for subsidized coverage,” Johnson explained. “So you can actually get some financial assistance in order to purchase health insurance coverage.”
Enrollment in a health plan is available through the Affordable Care Act’s website, HealthCare.gov, and there are dozens of insurance brokers available, too.
But Johnson noted the best way to get help is through Cover Arizona’s volunteer assistance program.
“The website is CoverAZ.org, and there you can register or get signed up with an in-person or virtual assister for free. It’s a great one-stop shop to really get in-person assistance,” Johnson concluded.
Marketplace plans are ranked as Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum, allowing enrollees to choose a monthly premium and annual deductible that best fits their needs.
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