Uninsured Georgians looking for help from President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will have at least seven health insurance companies from which to choose for lower priced insurance. Seven health insurers have signed up to offer benefits plans as part of the online insurance exchange that begins enrolling Georgians in October, according to Georgia Health News.
So far Aetna, Alliant, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Coventry, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, and Peach State insurance companies have signed up to participate in the exchange. They will offer a range of plans for individuals in Georgia as part of the Affordable Care Act’s exchange, or “marketplace,” which will debut in 2014, GHN reports.
“On average, these plans are coming in slightly less than premiums of employer plans,’’ Bill Custer, a health insurance expert at Georgia State University, told GHN.
He said he based that assessment on premiums for a single person in employer plans in the 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation/HRET benefits survey, where an HMO plan for an individual in the South averaged $456 per month.
“A lot of the fears about premium shock are unfounded, at least in these preliminary filings,’’ Custer said.
UnitedHealthcare and Cigna are two of the larger names missing from the list of insurers. GHN notes that United holds a large share of members in the State Health Benefit Plan.
Media reports of competitive rates also have followed insurer filings for exchanges in Oregon, Washington state and California.
The online marketplaces are one of the key ways the health law expands coverage to millions of people not offered coverage by their employers.
The other way is expansion of states’ Medicaid programs, which is up to individual state governments. Gov. Nathan Deal and others in Georgia’s Republican leadership say they won’t agree to expansion in the peach state and have previously fought efforts to bring the insurance exchange here as well.
The federal government will operate the health insurance exchange, or marketplace, in Georgia and many other states. The goal is for individual consumers to be able to make informed choices comparing benefits and price.