In Arizona, qualified individuals and families have easy access to state-funded health insurance through a variety of online government resources, as well as through local Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) offices. Arizona health insurance is provided through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). For those who meet eligibility and income requirements, there are a wide variety of full-coverage health-care plans to choose from.
Visit the AHCCCS website or study the online AHCCCS Eligibility Manual (see Resources) to determine your eligibility for Arizona health insurance. Qualified applicants for AHCCCS health insurance fall into a number of diverse categories, and each category has its own specific list of eligibility and income requirements.
Decide on an AHCCCS health plan that best suits the needs of you and your family. The AZ.gov website provides a complete list of available health plans, each with a contact phone number and website link to the official site (see Resources). Whether you apply online or in person, you'll be asked to make at least a preliminary choice for a health plan. If you choose not to decide initially on your application, DES will decide on a health plan for you. Health plan choices can be changed at any time once approved for AHCCCS.
Apply online for AHCCCS using the Health-e-Arizona website, or fill out an application at the local DES office assigned to your zip code. Applying online is easiest and allows you to choose the best day and time for your phone or office interview. Either way, you'll be given an information checklist and asked to provide beforehand — via fax or drop-off — specific documents such as income or wage statements, birth certificates, a letter from your landlord, a copy of your lease or some other proof of residence, and utility bills. When these documents are received by DES, DES assigns you a caseworker, who then notifies you by mail of the time and date of your phone or in-person interview.
Prepare for the DES interview with your assigned caseworker. For phone interviews, you must answer when the caseworker calls or you'll most likely have to reapply. Caseworkers won't call a second time, and calling back into DES to speak to that caseworker after missing her call is virtually impossible. In-person interviews are only slightly easier to reschedule if you should happen to arrive late or miss your name being called. If this does happen, some DES offices set aside one day per week for taking “standby” appointments only. Standby interviews are first come, first serve and provide support for those needing emergency assistance and makeup appointments.
A freelance Writer/Editor with over fifteen years of experience, Zari Ballard holds a BA in Communications/English from Rhode Island College. Zari's work appears at AssociatedContent.com, EHow.com, WiseGeek.com, Free-Downloads.net, and GoodTasteInternational.com.