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Seven Georgia Insurers Join Healthcare Exchange

Major healthcare insurers are joining national exchange
Major healthcare insurers are joining national exchange

Some of the biggest names in the health insurance marketplace will begin offering plans through the national healthcare exchange.

Aetna, Alliant, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Coventry, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, and Peach State 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.

According to a report from the plans being offered are actually less expensive than similar employer offered plans. “On average, these plans are coming in slightly less than premiums of employer plans,’’ said Bill Custer, a health insurance expert at Georgia State University. 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.

The plans in the marketplace are rated Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze, based on their level of benefits. The Georgia filings’ Silver plans compare very well with the value of employer plans, Custer said.

Rates for individuals differ based on their age, tobacco use, and region of the state; covering dependents adds to the cost of premiums. Four insurers are offering plans in most, if not all, regions of Georgia: Blue Cross, Humana, Alliant, and Coventry. Plans in the Atlanta area will have lower premiums than those offered in other parts of the state, according to the filings, obtained by GHN through the state Open Records Act.

“Atlanta is the more competitive market,’’ Custer said. Among the regions with the highest premiums will be the Albany area, where a recent merger of hospitals is being fought by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC calls the Phoebe Putney merger with Palmyra anti-competitive.