Arizona’s high uninsured rate means that hundreds of thousands of people are living in fear of medical emergencies and unforeseen expenses.
An Insurance Crisis in Arizona
Over 900,000 Arizonans are uninsured, according to a 2014 analysis by personal finance website Wallet Hub. As the fifteenth most densely populated state, that 900,000-plus figure makes up 13.6% of the overall population, which places Arizona eleventh in a ranking of the highest uninsured percentage of uninsured citizens in the U.S. For consideration, the national average in 2014 was 11.7% with the highest percentage in any state at 19.06%, and lowest at 3.28%.
One of the problems with Arizona’s insurance marketplace is the spotty history of KidsCare, Arizona’s version of Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. CHIP is a program geared towards families whose income is too high to qualify them for Medicaid but who might otherwise not be able to afford insurance for their children. The Phoenix New Times reports that in 2014, KidsCare was disbanded completely, making Arizona the only state without CHIP. As a result, 10% of Arizonans under the age of eighteen were unprotected by health insurance in 2014, ranking Arizona in the bottom five of all fifty states for this age group.
Remarkably, these rates still reflect a vast improvement over the last few years. According to the Arizona Republic, the Affordable Care Act has provided 215,000 Arizonans with health insurance who previously had none. In 2013, a staggering 17.1% of the population did not have health insurance – a 3.5% drop in one year. This decrease is due to the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, which has increased the number of people eligible for the program and made it easier for parents to apply for health insurance for themselves and their children.
Consequences of Living without Insurance
For the nearly one million Arizonans who aren’t insured, medical expenses, especially unexpected ones, can be catastrophic. Broken bones, ambulances, and hospital stays can rack up tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. These unexpected medical expenses may force families without a sufficient safety net to empty their savings, take out large loans that drag down their credit scores, or even declare bankruptcy.
Even under the Affordable Care Act, those without insurance are still required to pay a fee. Americans not enrolled in a health insurance plan – and who aren’t exempt due to low income, religious reasons or extenuating circumstances – must pay an individual mandate, which could cost each family member several hundred dollars.
Arizonans who are uninsured due to their inability to afford health insurance should check to see if they qualify for Medicaid. They can also look into HSA (Health Savings Account) plans, which are tax-favored savings accounts that can help counteract the cost of a high-deductible insurance plan, such as those often offered by employers.
Insurance alternatives such as SingleCare can also provide a valuable way for families to safeguard against catastrophe, by helping them be proactive with their healthcare. SingleCare negotiates lower fees with medical professionals than the out-of-pocket rates. Unlike typical insurance, however, SingleCare doesn’t require members to pay a premium, and only for services used at the negotiated rate. With SingleCare membership cards, members are able to access medical services that often aren’t covered by insurance, such as physical therapy, and purchase prescription medications at reduced prices.
* Prescription savings vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and may reach up to 80% off cash price.
This is a medical discount plan.This is NOT insurance. This program offers you the opportunity to locate providers of various types of medical services who will offer their services to you at discounted rates. The range of discounts for medical or ancillary services provided under the plan will vary depending on the type of provider and service received. You are fully responsible for paying for all health care services but will be entitled to receive a discount from those health care providers in accordance with the specific pre-negotiated discounted fee schedule. This program does not guarantee the quality of the services or procedures offered by the providers. Except for prescription drugs which you will pay directly to the pharmacy at the time of purchase, all other services received through a program provider will be charged to the credit card on file in your member account. The charge will include an administrative fee for use of the program. Towers Administrators LLC is the licensed discount medical plan organization with its administrative office located at 4510 Cox Road, Suite 111, Glen Allen, VA 23060. SingleCare Services, LLC is the marketer of the discount medical plan organization including its website, singlecare.com, with its corporate office located at 99 High Street, Suite 2800, Boston, MA 02110. For additional information, including an up-to-date list of providers, or assistance with any issue related to program membership, please contact member support any time at www.singlecare.com, or by calling toll-free 844-234-3057, Monday through Friday 9am-9pm EST.