Monday, February 03, 2014

How Obamacare Impacts Healthcare in Southwest Georgia

If you live near Albany, Georgia health insurance has never been cheap but for most it was
affordable before #Obamacare. The community rating requirements lumps citizens into 16 geographic regions for rating purposes. If you live in southwest Georgia your rates are some of the highest in the country.

But only if you buy on the healthcare exchange, and only if you buy from Blue Cross of Georgia.
All the dynamics that drive up health costs have coalesced here in Southwest Georgia, pushing up premiums.  Expensive chronic conditions such as obesity and cancer are common among the quarter million people in this region. One hospital system dominates the area, leaving little competition. Only one insurer is offering policies in the online marketplace, and many physicians are not participating, limiting consumer choice.
Kaiser Health News

Community rating, which did not exist in Georgia prior to Obamacare, requires health insurance carriers to factor in the total health of the community along with the cost of health care in that area. 

Further complicating this Obamamess is the principle hospital in the area, Phoebe Putney.
Phoebe's dominance has also grown as it has purchased more physician practices. "Doctors you thought would never work for Phoebe are now Phoebe employees," said Sue Luckie, an insurance agent in nearby Leesburg. 
Phoebe Putney and BCBSGA have never been friends, but it is much worse under Obamacare. 

If you bought a Blue Cross plan, on or off the exchange, and lived in the Albany area, there are no participating hospitals in their network for 100 miles.

But when you search plans outside of the exchange you will find several plans that include Phoebe Putney and their premiums are much lower than Blue Cross.

Sounds like time to change your insurance, but you need to do so before March 31, 2014. After that you won't be able to buy health insurance until the next open enrollment beginning November 15, 2014.

That's something else you probably didn't know about Obamacare.
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