Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Goldwater Institute Finds Arizona Health Insurance Rates Inflated

Group says Arizonans should have access to more affordable plans from other states

While health insurance costs continue to rise nationwide, policymakers can do more to bring more affordable health insurance to Arizona, according to a new Goldwater Institute report released today.

Currently, Arizona law prohibits Arizonans from buying a health insurance plan from another state. The new report, Health Care Choice: Giving Arizonans More Health Insurance Options, recommends changing the law so residents can buy health insurance from other states. The report was co- authored by Noah Clarke, an economist formerly with the Goldwater Institute, and Dr. Eric Novack, a Phoenix- area surgeon.

Arizona Congressman John Shadegg introduced legislation in the U.S. Congress that would force states to open up their insurance markets, but Arizona doesn't have to wait on Congress; it can act unilaterally.

Health insurance premiums in Arizona are below the national average, but eight nearby states offer similar health insurance plans for less. For example, individual annual health insurance premiums average $2,440 in Arizona, but a similar policy is available for $555 less in California.

"It's time to give these archaic regulations the boot," says Goldwater Institute president Darcy Olsen. "Arizona doesn't have to wait on Washington to bring better health care coverage to Arizonans. Lawmakers can unilaterally open up the health insurance market so Arizonans can choose from hundreds of insurance plans across the country."

Opening up the health insurance market could help reduce the number of Arizonans without insurance by increasing affordability and portability.

  • Affordability: Letting companies from other states offer lower cost plans in Arizona could help lower premiums on both individual and employer- sponsored plans.
  • Portability: Researchers at the University of Michigan found that "losing coverage that came with a job is the single largest explanation for how people become uninsured." When people can afford to purchase their own health insurance, there will be greater continuity of coverage, even when they experience changes in employment.

"No single change will alleviate all of the problems with the health care system, but Arizona can and should take steps to provide more choices, more affordability, and more continuity in health insurance," said Dr. Novack.

Health Care Choice: Giving Arizonans More Health Insurance Options is available online or by calling (602) 462-5000. The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters. Please click here to make a tax- deductible contribution.


Starlee Rhoades

Director of Communications


(602) 462-5000 x 226

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