More insurers seek to join 2015 Georgia exchange

by Georgia Health News

alt

The increased competition is expected to be good news for Georgia consumers, and could prevent a big increase in premiums, experts say. “Consumers benefit from competition,” Karen Ignagni, the president and chief executive officer of America’s Health Insurance Plans.


UnitedHealthcare, Coventry, Cigna and Time Insurance Company have each submitted plans with the state to offer health insurance in the federally run exchange in Georgia next year.

They join the five holdovers from this year’s exchange that are also submitting rates for review: Alliant Health Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and Peach State Health Plans.

lb_uhc-logoThe state’s deadline for applications for the Georgia exchange was midnight Monday. Glenn Allen, a spokesman for state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, said late Monday afternoon that other insurers’ filings could come in before that deadline.

The increased competition is expected to be good news for Georgia consumers, and could prevent a big increase in premiums, experts say.

The Georgia exchange had vigorous competition in the metro Atlanta market this year, but in areas of southwest Georgia, the premiums there were among the highest in the country.

It’s not immediately clear whether United or the other three new applicants plan to offer coverage in all areas of Georgia. This year, just one company, Blue Cross, offered health plans statewide.

Earlier in the month, UnitedHealthcare told GHN that it was considering offering health plans in Georgia’s exchange for 2015.

State exchanges, required under the Affordable Care Act, are designed to help consumers find and purchase health coverage. An exchange can be run by either the individual state or the federal government. Georgia, like most other states, has opted for federal administration.

Minnesota-based UnitedHealth sells health plans in just five exchanges now, but its executives previously have said they expected to expand their offerings in 2015, Bloomberg News recently reported. United has moved to offer plans in several new states for next year.

Coventry, along with Aetna, initially proposed rates for the Georgia exchange for 2014 but wound up choosing not to participate in the state.

Allen said that with the submission of all proposed plans for 2015, the state will now review the rates of the insurers and check the adequacy of their medical provider networks.

“Consumers benefit from competition,” Karen Ignagni, the president and chief executive officer of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s Washington lobby group, told Bloomberg News in a May interview. “The most important thing is getting folks on the playing field offering different products to consumers so they can make the decisions that are best for them.”

More than 316,000 Georgians signed up for health plans in the insurance exchange by the end of the enrollment period this spring.



More Local

Coco's Cupboard

Partnership works to find service dogs for veterans

Dog trainers Suzanne Aaron and Tara Cotton saw many clients who had dogs they just couldn’t handle. They would help the owners find do ... Read More


250 students affected

Homelessness ‘vicious cycle that’s going to continue’

The economy has bounced back from the lows of a few years ago. The housing market is healthy, and the jobless rate has improved. But, for so ... Read More


Annual Sunrise on the Square Road Race a success

The annual Sunrise on the Square included ideal weather and a first-time winner who actually pushed his baby in a stroller. The race, hosted ... Read More


HealthSouth facility scheduled to open Dec. 2

Progress for HealthSouth’s new facility is on track for a Dec. 2 opening, which will add to the town’s growing collection of hea ... Read More


Subsidized medical center proposed for Senoia

Palmetto Health Council is applying for a grant to bring a subsidized medical clinic to Coweta, proposed for the Senoia area. The non-profit ... Read More

Economic Impact

Ports hit new record

The Georgia Ports Authority moved more than 3 million 20-foot equivalent container units in fiscal year 2014 – and set a new record fo ... Read More