Open enrollment for health insurance through the federal government’s Affordable Care Act Marketplace ends Sunday. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, this year in Arizona there’s been a significant increase in those purchasing insurance through the program.
More than 180,000 Arizonans so far have signed up or were pre-enrolled for insurance through the Marketplace. Most signups have been in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, but cities in northern Arizona have seen thousands enroll as well: more than 2,300 in Flagstaff, and more than 3,300 in Prescott and Prescott Valley.
Kevin Counihan is the CEO of the Affordable Care Act Marketplace.
“We’ve had very strong growth in the state. It’s up around 50 percent roughly from last year,” Counihan says.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, before the Affordable Care Act went into effect, one in five Arizonans had health insurance. Now, the number of insured in the state has increased. According to Counihan, much of that has to do with a streamlined signup process. There’s also little or no sign of the glitches that had formerly plagued the government’s enrollment website.
“Things are dramatically different from a year ago. I think it’s less confusing. My understanding is that what may have taken an hour or two last year is now taking less than 30 minutes,” Counihan says.
Nationally, during the current enrollment period, nearly 8 million people have signed up for health insurance through the ACA Marketplace.