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STUDY OF NEW HEALTH EXCHANGES SHOWS ARIZONA HOW TO LOWER COSTS FOR CONSUMERS

Arizona Should Act to Create New Insurance Marketplace
For Immediate Release

Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and Arizona should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.  Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage.  Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014.

“When it comes to health care, there are few magic-bullet solutions for the many problems consumers face in the marketplace,” stated Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.  “However, a health insurance exchange offers Arizona an opportunity to provide individuals and small businesses with better quality and less expensive options for coverage.”

The report examines the exchanges that have so far been set up by states and rates them according to how accountable they will be to consumers and the public, how much they can do to lower premiums and improve the quality of care, how friendly they will be to consumers, and how stable they will be.

“Not all health insurance exchanges are created equal,” continued Brown.  “Arizona has substantial leeway to define critical aspects of the exchange, including who is eligible to buy coverage, how aggressively it will set standards and negotiate with insurers, and how it will be run.”

According to the report, important policies to make Arizona’s exchange strong include:

  • A governing board comprised of majority consumer representation
  • Negotiating power on behalf of consumers to drive higher quality and lower rates
  • Ease of use for consumers when searching for and buying coverage on the exchange
  • Ensuring stability of the exchange and protections against the risk of adverse selection                                                          - 30 -

 

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund and over 30 community organizations including the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers, Children’s Action Alliance, Raising Special Kids, signed onto a statement that outlines “ingredients for success and affordability” for a health insurance exchange in Arizona.  The statement and signatories can be found at www.azchildren.org

 

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