News Release

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Diane E. Brown,
Arizona PIRG

Phoenix College President, HHS Interim Regional Director, Cover Arizona Announce Plans to Educate and Enroll Arizonans

For Immediate Release

With the Health Insurance Marketplace set to open on November 15, Phoenix College leaders, the Interim Regional Director for Health & Human Services (HHS) and members of the Cover Arizona coalition announced plans to educate and enroll Arizonans in health insurance. Participants also provided tips on what Arizonans need to know to receive new health insurance or renew their existing insurance.

Dr. Anna Solley, President of Phoenix College, stated, “We are excited to once again welcome our community partners back to Phoenix College to kick-off the opening of the insurance marketplace. We want to ensure our students and community possess all of the tools afforded to them to make informed decisions when it comes to enrolling in a health insurance plan.”

Dr. Albert Celoza, Chair of the Department of Liberal Arts for Phoenix College, added, “Consumers should feel free to reach out for help when they have questions on health insurance. There are many terms – such as deductible or co-pay – that may not be familiar to someone who hasn’t purchased insurance before. It is far better to ask for information and be covered just as it is far better to take preventative steps vs. dealing with a medical issue that gets worse with inattention.”

Last year, common wisdom was that young adults thought they were “invincible.” However, Lirio Orozco, Ambassador to Student Leadership Council & Homecoming Queen at Phoenix College, said that while her friends don’t often sit around talking about health insurance nor does she typically hear other people sitting around talking about health insurance it isn’t because they don’t think they need it. “When the topic of health insurance comes up, most people I know immediately dismiss it saying it is too expensive. I know I was grateful to hear that many Arizonans earning $16,000 or less qualify for AHCCCS and many individuals earning $40,000 or less are likely to qualify for financial assistance in the marketplace.”

Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and a member of the Steering Committee for the Cover Arizona coalition, stated, “The health insurance message is clear: It’s time. It’s affordable. We are here to help.” Brown added that the outreach conducted by her organization and other members of the Cover Arizona coalition includes speaking on college campuses and at community events, distributing information and answering questions in person and over the phone, sending out emails and text messages, posting on social media, and scheduling appointments with enrollment assisters.

Tara Plese, Senior Director for External Affairs for the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers and a member of the Steering Committee for the Cover Arizona coalition, said that certified enrollment assisters provide help for Arizonans wanting to navigate the health insurance process. Plese said that “while enrollment assisters are there to help navigate individuals through the health insurance process they are not there to choose a plan for the consumer nor do they make a profit based on the plan a consumer chooses.”

While Arizona organizations and individuals are working to educate and enroll individuals, Kenneth Shapiro, Interim Regional Director for Health & Human Services (HHS), said the effort to inform citizens of their options and rights is taking place across the country. Shapiro stressed the importance of having insurance for both the health and financial well being of individuals and families.

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Consumer friendly resources include:

So You Need Health Insurance. Now What?

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s guide provides information for consumers to know their health insurance options and health insurance rights.

So You Have Health Insurance. Now What?

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s fact sheet provides tips for consumers deciding whether to keep their individual health insurance plan or switch to a new plan.

Health Insurance Calculator 

Enroll America has developed a tool that can help individuals estimate their household cost for health insurance.

Enroll America Connector 

The connector allows individuals in Arizona to sign up for a free in-person appointment with a certified health insurance enrollment assister. Individuals can also call 211 to schedule an appointment.

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