Add reviewing your Arizona health care insurance policy to your end-of-the-year/new-year to-do list. In these tough economic times, it could help you save some money, or at least result in improved coverage. Consumer advocates are working on your behalf and a number of pieces of legislation have passed or are under consideration that could have a positive impact on your Arizona health care insurance. Review the changes to see what, if anything affects you. Then check your policy, check your individual requirements and start shopping now for Arizona health insurance quotes that suit your personal needs and budget.
In 2009, Arizona legislators went to bat for small business. Companion House Bills 2323 and 2324 took nearly a decade to pass. Essentially, they ended the practice of adding more and more mandated coverage to basic health care plans, which was causing Arizona group premiums to soar. A version of the measure was originally passed in 2006, but with the limitation that small groups of two to 25 employees desiring lower-cost health care plans had to go without coverage for six months before they could purchase a new plan. In 2007, the mandate-light Arizona health insurance plans were extended to employers with up to 50 employees. This year’s bills reduced the “go bare” period to 90 days.
As an Arizona resident, you should also be aware of changes affecting your COBRA benefits that were included in HBs 2323 and 2324. If you’ve lost your employer-provided Arizona health insurance, you now have the opportunity to the same mandate-light insurance options available to small businesses with between two and 50 employees if you meet certain qualifying criteria:
You were terminated from employment that provide health coverage or left on your own to start a small business
Your employer stopped offering health insurance
You’ve exhausted COBRA coverage or couldn’t afford it
You lost your health insurance because of divorce or death of a spouse
Your participation in public health care programs was discontinued
Also, both HB 2323 and HB 2324 provide individuals who have lost their health insurance an opportunity to access to the same mandate-lite insurance options offered to small businesses with between two and 50 employees, if they were:
Terminated from a job that provided health insurance coverage
Left of their own volition to open a small business
Employer discontinued offering health insurance coverage
Exhausted COBRA coverage or found that COBRA coverage was unaffordable
Health insurance coverage was discontinued due to death of a spouse or divorce
Participation in public health care programs was discontinued.
Certain to eventually lower Arizona health care costs for everyone is SB 1018, which raises the burden of proof in medical malpractice civil actions against health care providers and hospital.
Stay tuned, because on the ballot in 2010, is HCR 2014, which would amend the Arizona Constitution to bar any rules or regulations that would force Arizonans to participate in federally mandated health reform and also ensure that individual citizen would have the right to pay for private Arizona health insurance.