Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Obamacare Comes to Georgia

Obamacare comes to Georgia. Teachers Rally Against Georgia Insurance Changes

Obamacare coming to Georgia is not news, unless you are part of TRAGIC, a group of teachers that finally realized Obamacare means change for them.
The wife of a Cherokee County teacher is leading a statewide group against changes to the state employee health insurance plans that took effect Wednesday.
Within less than three days of being created, the group to bring awareness of 2014 changes in insurance for teachers and other state employees had already surpassed 1,600 members.
The group, “Teachers Rally Against Georgia Insurance Changes,” or TRAGIC, was created Thursday morning by Canton resident Ashley Cline, whose husband is a teacher in Cherokee County.
Marietta Daily Journal

Apparently some teachers failed to do their homework. While fellow Georgian's were losing coverage and seeing their rates skyrocket this group marched forward, oblivious to the fact their ox was about to be gored.

Local governments plus public school systems have the option of participating in the Georgia State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) or securing their own coverage. Many of the public school boards simply default to the SHBP which makes their job easier.

Prior to 2014 the SHBP had two insurance carriers acting in a TPA capacity and charged with administering the plan for some 650,000 employees. As recently as 2013 there were over half a dozen plan choices including copay plans, HSA and HRA.

That all changed in 2014 when Blue Cross of Georgia was named the lone TPA and the plan choices were reduced to three Obamacare metal plans: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Gone were copay plans. Your only choice now is a high deductible HRA.

Personal responsibility is the watchword of the day and those covered under the SHBP must now pick from a small pool of participating doctors and hospitals while at the same time becoming informed shoppers when it comes to health care.

The TRAGIC teacher group, along with many state employees apparently just came out from under the ether and realized what Obamacare means to them. Some did not understand how the plan worked until they actually USED their plan since January 1.

Now they know how we felt about pop quizzes.

TRAGIC has already led the charge to call the Governor's office to complain and they plan a rally on the Capitol steps on January 18, 2014.

However noble their cause may be, their efforts are targeting the wrong entity. Rather than complaining to the governor about the plan they should raise their voice to their employer. Their respective school systems, not the state, are the ones that decide on the group plan. Venting their frustration at the state level is a waste of time.

Ashley Cline and her group have already staked out their plan of action and are unwilling to consider that it will be ineffective. There are a few of their members that are astute enough to realize the change is part of the Obamacare train wreck, but most seem to be willing to pick up their torches and pitchforks and storm the Capitol.

Blaming politics and a Republican Governor seems an easy target.

I do empathize with them since my wife and I are also covered under the SHBP through her employer. The summaries provided during open enrollment were vague in some areas and with regard to the network, just flat wrong. Instead of the promised Blue Cross PPO broad network we found out weeks after open enrollment had closed that the material was wrong. Instead of the PPO we have a much smaller POS network.

Yet no one in TRAGIC seems to notice or understand what this means. They mistakenly believe their protests will give them back their old plan choices.

Sorry folks. There is a new sheriff in town and no matter how much you liked your old plan it is forever gone. Some 650,000 Georgians covered under the SHBP woke up on January 1, 2014 only to discover they, like millions of others across the land, have had their health insurance cancelled.

If you liked your health insurance plan and your doctor, get over it. The four year lie now impacts you.

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