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JOSE: THIS WEEK OPEN ENROLLMENT STARTS FOR THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE COVERAGE. ARIZONA RESIDENTS WILL FIND FEWER OPTIONS AND HIGHER COSTS COMPARED TO ONE YEAR AGO. EVERY COUNTY EXCEPT FOR PIMA COUNTY WILL HAVE ONE MARKETPLACE OFFERING PLANS. JON FORD AND DAVID AGUIRA IS HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUE. GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO "HORIZONTE." THIS WOULD BE BIG NEWS ANY YEAR BUT PARTICULARLY BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN MADE A BIG PART OF THE ELECTION, JOHN, AND PARTICULARLY IN ARIZONA, CONCERNS ABOUT WHETHER THERE IS GOING TO BE COVERAGE FOR THE PEOPLE TRYING TO SIGN UP.

JON FORD: INDEED. WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS RAPIDLY EVOLVING MARKETPLACE. THIS IS YEAR FOUR. I THINK INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE STILL TRYING TO WRESTLE WITH THE IDEA THAT THE RULES OF THE GAME HAVE CHANGED. THE NEED TO COVER EVERYONE REGARDLESS OF CONDITION. THE MINIMUM ESSENTIAL BENEFITS. THE REQUIREMENT TO COVER EVERYONE CHANGES YOUR PRODUCT. IT CHANGES YOUR BUSINESS MODEL. WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN YEAR FOUR IS A RETRENCHMENT AND PULL BACK. WE HAVE A VERY AFFORDABLE CARE ACT MARKETPLACE TO OFFER TO PEOPLE AND THAT IS IMPORTANT TO GET ACROSS BUT WE ARE SEEING A MARKET INFLUX AND EVOLVING.

JOSE: YOU TALK ABOUT INCREASES IN PREMIUMS BUT SAY AFFORDABLE.

JON FORD: THE INCREASE IS HAPPENING BUT THERE ARE SUBSIDIES AND TAX CREDITS TO OFFSET THAT. THE MARKETPLACE IS DESIGNED TO ADJUST TO PREMIUM INCREASES AND MAKE COVERAGE AFFORDABLE FOR PEOPLE BASED ON THEIR INCOME LEVEL.

JOSE: WHAT ABOUT PIMA COUNTY? NO MARKETPLACE THERE.

JON FORD: PIMA DOES NOW HAVE A MARKETPLACE INSURER. FOR A TIME THIS SUMMER THEY DID NOT HAVE ONE. NOW THEY DO. THAT INSURER IS IN THE SAME POSITION AS THE REST -- THE SAME INSURER HERE IN PHOENIX AND IN BOTH MARKETS THOSE PLANS HAVE A VARIETY OF PLANS AND THEY ARE ALL HAVING THE SUBSIDIES TO MAKE SURE THEY STAY AFFORDABLE.

JOSE: DAVID, WE HAD YOU ON THE SHOW TO TALK ABOUT GETTING LATINOS ENROLLED. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION HELPING OUT?

DAVID AGUIRRE: WE DID A CAMPAIGN TO TARGET LATINOS THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE STATE. WE GOT ABOUT 50,000 LATINOS ENROLLED LAST YEAR THROUGHOUT THE STATE. THIS YEAR WE ARE FOCUSING ON THE HIGH CONCENTRATION AREAS OF THE STATE WHERE LATINOS ARE MOVING TO OR GROWING IN NUMBERS

JOSE: WHAT ARE YOU TELLING THEM? HOW DO YOU REASSURE THEM?

DAVID AGUIRRE: WE TALK ABOUT THE RATES INCREASING BUT THE SUBSIDIES THAT WILL OFFSET THE COST.

JOSE: HOW DOES THAT WORK FOR SOMEONE WHO IS A LOW-INCOME FILER? THAT IS MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS?

DAVID AGUIRRE: THEY WILL EITHER GET IT ON A MONTHLY BASES OR CLAIM IT AS A CREDIT AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

JOSE: JOHN, WHAT ABOUT GENERALLY THE IMPACT OF THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE BEING AN ISSUE AND YOU HAD CLINTON SAYING SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT A MESS IT IS. ARE YOU RUNNING INTO THAT?

JON FORD: I THINK WE SEE SOME OF THAT. THERE IS A LOT OF POLITICAL RHETORIC AND CONFUSION. WE WOULD LIKE PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THIS IS THE SAME MARKETPLACE AS LAST YEAR. THERE ARE FEWER PROVIDERS BUT DIFFERENT PLANS AND BECAUSE OF THE TAX CREDITS AND SUBSIDIES THEY WILL HAVE THAT ASFORDABILITY. THE NOTION YOU SEE ON THE POLITICAL LEVEL IS IMPORTANT. IT IS AN EVOLVING MARKETPLACE AND THE EXTENT THE GOVERNMENT CAN STEP IN AND PROVIDE MORE STRUCTURE TO THE MARKETPLACE THAT MIGHT HELP CONSUMERS TO GET TO A BETTER PLACE WITH BALANCE AND MORE OPTIONS ABSOLUTELY.

JOSE: WHAT ABOUT THE QUESTION OF CHOICE? MAYBE ONE INSURER BUT A VARIETY OF PLANS?

JON FORD: IT IS CALLED THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND NOT THE BIG CHOICE ACT. THE NOTION OF CHOICE CAME OUT IN THE FIRST YEAR WHEN THERE WERE A LOT OF PROVIDERS. RIGHT NOW THERE AREN'T. I THINK THAT IS WHAT YOU SEE. I WOULD EXPECT NEXT YEAR YOU WILL SEE MORE PROVIDERS.

JOSE: DAVID, ONE OF THE ISSUES WE TALKED ABOUT BEFORE AND THAT CAME UP AGAIN IS THE DISPARITIES WHEN IT COMES TO LATINOS AND GETTING HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO DEAL WITH THAT?

DAVID AGUIRRE: WE ARE FOCUSING ON THOSE ISSUES. A LOT OF THE DIFFERENT THINGS THEY GO THROUGH -- A LOT OF TIMES THEY RELY ON NEIGHBORS OR FAMILY MEMBERS TO TALK TO THEM ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE. SO WE TAKE THE TIME TO EDUCATE THEM AND REALLY TALK ABOUT WHAT IT IS TO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, HOW THEY WILL BENEFIT, HOW AT THE END OF THE DAY THEY DON'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE THEY WILL END UP WITH A PENALTY AND THAT IS GOING TO COST A BIGGER PROBLEM. THEY WILL BE PAYING ALMOST AS MUCH AS ONE OF THE PLANS.

JOSE: ARE THERE COUNTIES IN ARIZONA WHERE IT IS MORE DIFFICULT OR YOU FIND GREATER RELUCTANCY AMONG THE LATINOS TO SIGN UP?

DAVID AGUIRRE: IT HASN'T BEEN THAT HARD. ONCE THEY UNDERSTAND AND WE TAKE THE TIME THROUGH THE HEALTH FAIRS AND TALK TO LEADERS IN THE COMMUNITY AND REALLY THEY GET ONBOARD WITH US AND WE ARE ABLE TO RELAY THE MESSAGE TO THEM. USING THAT MODEL WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET EVERYONE THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

JOSE: WHAT IMPACT WILL THE ELECTION HAVE ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT GOING FORWARD? I KNOW THAT IS A BIG QUESTION.

JON FORD: THAT IS A PREDICTION I CANNOT MAKE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE LATINOS ARE SOME OF OUR BEST USERS OF HEALTH CARE. WHAT IS SAD ABOUT CURRENT STATE OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS LESS LATINOS HAVE SIGNED UP THAN OTHER POPULATIONS. WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE IDEA OF LATINOS JOINING US IN THE MARKETPLACE. AS FAR AS THE ELECTION GOES, THAT IS A FUTURE NO ONE CAN PREDICT.

JOSE: WE WILL SEE IN ABOUT A WEEK. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON HORIZONTE.

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