Arizona is typically considered a rightwing state, and Republican candidates usually take the state in presidential elections, including the 2016 election. Even still, Arizona is not a politically homogeneous state. While the area surrounding Phoenix leans Republican, the city itself has a tendency to vote Democrat. Pima County, which includes the city of Tucson, also leans Democrat, but much of the rest of the state votes conservatively. Overall, there is a narrow margin between registered Republicans and Democrats in the state, with Republicans taking the lead by only about 160,000 voters.
It may come as little surprise, then, that in this diverse political climate, reactions to the Affordable Care Act have been mixed. The state, particularly the governor, stood in opposition to Obamacare at its outset. Despite that opposition, Arizona did choose to expand Medicaid coverage. One of its senators, John McCain, recently shocked his peers in the upper chamber by voting against a Republican healthcare proposal.
Enrollment Through the Years
Arizona uses the federal marketplace to enroll residents in Obamacare plans. Since 2015, Arizona has seen a small but steady decline in annual enrollment.
- 205,666 Arizonans enrolled in 2015
- 203,066 Arizonans enrolled in 2016
- 196,291 Arizonans enrolled in 2017
In 2017, there were 67,230 new enrollees for ACA marketplace plans in Arizona. 129,061 Arizonans re-enrolled in Marketplace plans in 2017. The uncertain political climate related to the 2016 election likely had an influence over the number of signups for 2017 plans. Arizona’s primary demographic signing up for Obamacare plans is older, falling into the 55-64 bracket.
Arizona did expand Medicaid to include those who earned up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit. Nearly 426,000 Arizonans have gained coverage through Medicaid due to expansion provisions.
Certain Obamacare marketplace enrollees are eligible for cost assistance. Typically, those eligible for assistance earn between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty limit. In 2017, 79 percent of those enrolled in a marketplace plan in Arizona received cost assistance through federal subsidies.
Some enrollees are also eligible for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). These enrollees can earn up to 250 percent of the federal poverty limit and must enroll with a silver health plan. In 2017, 51 percent of Arizonans who were enrolled in a marketplace plan received CSRs.
Carrier Participation & Plan Availability
In 2018, two carriers will provide marketplace plans in Arizona. This is the same number of carriers that were available in Arizona last year. In 2017, across the entire state, there were 72 different plans offered by those two carriers. This does not mean that all Arizonans could select from the same 72 plans. The availability of plans differs between counties throughout the state.