Pima County has some of country's lowest health insurance rates - Tucson News Now

Pima County has some of country's lowest health insurance premiums

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"It's good because everybody needs help, sometimes," Adam Barzar said. "It's good because everybody needs help, sometimes," Adam Barzar said.
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Southern Arizona has some of the lowest health insurance premiums in the country.  Managed health care, with providers as employees instead of paying them for individual procedures, is credited with some of the force that drives down monthly premiums.  Lower premiums can help not just the community, but the economy.

"I dropped a 100-pound weight on my hand, immediately crushed it and broke it," Adam Barzar explained as he showed his bandaged finger, which had 16 stitches.  Barzar works in public safety.  He has health insurance.

"I'm just glad that I have the care.  Because, say I didn't and something happened to my finger, that would be a bad situation because nobody wants to lose anything," he said.

"The more people who have insurance, the more people who have access to health care, the stronger our economy is going to be," said Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit at Tucson Medical Center.

She referred to a new report by Kaiser Health News that placed Pima County with the fourth lowest health insurance premium in the country, at $167 a month.  Strange said that even those who have health care can shop for a better plan.

"Individuals who are employed will find that between the low-cost plans that are available in Arizona and the subsidies that may be available to them, they might be able to find a lower option through the marketplace than through their employer plan.  Small businesses are another perfect example," she said.

And low premiums also encourage the uninsured to get covered, get care, and prevent bad situations from getting worse.

"You are much more likely to be aligned with a primary care physician where you can get your health and perhaps your chronic conditions managed on a regular basis through a primary care setting, which is much less expensive than waiting until it's a crisis situation and you end up in the emergency room," she said.

"Everybody's been sick before at a time in their life. Everybody's had an injury. Everybody's been injured. So it's good because everybody needs help, sometimes," Barzar said.

The comparison was based on the mid-range silver plan for a 40 year-old patient.  Kaiser Family Foundation said that the most expensive premium is in the mountain resort region of Colorado, at $483 a month.

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