Obamacare Exchange Premiums Increasing by 21.4% in Georgia

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia’s premiums on the state’s Obamacare health insurance exchange will increase by an average of 21.4% in 2017, according to a proposal accepted by the office of Insurance Commisioner Ralph Hudgens. The decision awaits final confirmation by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, which has the ultimate authority to approve rate hikes on state insurance exchanges.

The hefty price increase was revised upward from 15.1% after Aetna, one of the nation’s five largest insurers, announced it was pulling out of 11 state insurance exchanges, including Georgia’s. Aetna will operate in just four states’ exchanges, following similiar pull-outs from insurance giants United Healthcare and Humana. Aetna lost 300 million pretax dollars servicing state exchanges last year.

This leaves Blue Cross and Blue Shield, already known for its fearsome political power, as the only company to offer health exchange plans in each of Georgia’s 159 counties. With the departure of Aetna from Georgia’s health exchange, BCBS is expected to gain major market share from the 70,000-90,000 Aetna members who will need to find new insurance.

Analysis from Avalare, a health insurance consulting company, finds that 36% of American counties will have one or zero exchange options in 2017. This sharp decline in competition is focused in rural places like South Georgia, where hospitals are already strained to the breaking point. In Alabama, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be the only exchange carrier in each county, while Pinal County, Arizona, made news as the first county with no health exchange carriers.

In large part, the costs stem from fewer new enrollees than originally estimated. While the Congressional Budget Office expected 21 million customers on state health exchanges in 2016, only 10 million had registered as of March. Those 10 million health exchange members tend to have higher healthcare costs than the average population, overwhelming the narrow healthcare networks sold on the exchanges.

Other health exchange carriers have been approved to raise average health exchange premiums in 2017, including a 67.5% jump from Humana. All approved premium hikes can be found here.

The burgeoning crisis will be a focal point of politics in 2017, but are likely to aid opposite political forces on the state and federal level. Expect Congressional Republicans to renew calls to reform Obamacare, while General Assembly Democrats are likely to advocate louder for Medicaid expansion. As always in health care politics, if you like your talking points, you can keep your talking points.

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LoyaltyIsMyHonorDave BearseSaltycrackerJack FitzThe Eiger Recent comment authors
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davidmac
davidmac

Sounds like it’s time for single-payer.

The Eiger
The Eiger

The government has screwed up the health insurance market over the past few decades and is now nearly $20 trillion in debt. Let’s put them in charge of everyone’s health insurance so that we can wait in line for health care and go even farther into debt. What could go wrong?

This has been the strategy of the left for decades. Screw with the health insurance market place so that premiums increase and then just call for single payer becasue they screwed the health insurance market place.

Jack Fitz
Jack Fitz

Do tell, whats your solution to lowering healthcare costs and creating universal coverage?

The Eiger
The Eiger

H.R. 2300 The Empowering Patients First Act. Here is a section by section breakdown of the bill. Dr. Price has been working on this alternative for years. It would be nice if republicans in congress would get behind it, but often times in our party we have people that are just against things and not actually for solutions. This is an actual solution to our problem.

http://tomprice.house.gov/sites/tomprice.house.gov/files/Section%20by%20Section%20of%20HR%202300%20Empowering%20Patients%20First%20Act%202015.pdf

Jack Fitz
Jack Fitz

So it would appear Dr. Price is pitching tax-credits for premiums (regardless of what the insurance companies decide to do), portability, no abortion funding, block state grants, mysterious cost-tribunals, and more and more increasingly complex measures to patch the broken system. While I’m happy to see something presented, it doesn’t appear to be a whole host of new ideas and doesn’t seem to address costs so much as it will be yet another give-away to insurance companies. I always like to view any issue through the prism of incentives. Our current structure contains three major players and one auxiliary player.… Read more »

The Eiger
The Eiger

I believe we have been looking at health care wrong for quite sometime. Liberals believe that health care costs are too high so the government should just pay for it. Many republicans believe that health care costs are too high and tort reform and health savings accounts will fix everything. Both are wrong. You mention in you post that there are three major players (employer, insurer and the government) and I don’t disagree with that. But why is the patient never mentioned? The patient and doctor providing the care should be at the center of health care, but they aren’t… Read more »

Jack Fitz
Jack Fitz

The government that seems unable to walk and chew gum at the same time is the same one that provides the security and military to keep us all safe. I don’t see the calls for setting up private security contractors to take over military operations from the armed services groups.

The Eiger
The Eiger

Of course the military does a great job of keeping us safe. They keep us all safe in the same way that doctors provide some of the world’s best health care right here in the United States. But just like the cost of health care is too high the cost of our military is very high as well. Why? Is it becasue the generals on the ground are wasting money? Or is becasue the federal bureaucracy and legislators have enabled and forced both the military and health care costs to spiral out of control? Why did we need two different… Read more »

LoyaltyIsMyHonor
LoyaltyIsMyHonor

Apparently you’re not familiar with concurrency as it relates to adopting new military platforms such as the F-35 (which will someday be an excellent aircraft) and the Ford Class aircraft carrier (which will someday be an excellent carrier).

The Eiger
The Eiger

I’m well aware of the concurrency process as well as the procurement process and how it affects the companies that develop our newest technologies. The process of developing the two engines continued well beyond what was needed becasue Congress kept sinking money into it and not becasue the Pratt & Whitney engines were inferior. I’m also aware that Congress screws with that process everyday by not making payments on time becasue of government shutdowns and their failure to pass appropriations bills. They screw with that process by adding bells, whistles and second engines to a project that was already years… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

The GOP leadership thinks Obamacare is so poor it merited 60+ repeal votes.

That six years after enactment you’re citing HR2300, legislation so poor that GOP leadership doesn’t think it merits a Committee vote despite it being sponsored by a physician high within the ranks of House leadership, is all anyone needs to know about the quality of this “actual solution”.

The Eiger
The Eiger

As I’ve said in my other posts, Republicans are a part of the problem as well. Just becasue some people in leadership are unwilling to solve hard problems doesn’t mean that HR 2300 is a bad solution. It means we have a lot of people in DC on both sides who would rather take the easy road and do nothing versus the hard, but right path of passing difficult legislation. It’s always easy to be against things, but extremely hard to stand for something and then push to get it through a Congress that would prefer to sit on its… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

You have my respect for calling the GOP out when you think it’s deserved. For my part I thought Clinton’s private e-mail server very poor personal and team judgment the day I learned of it. I suspect I may have a low opinion of the means by which personal wealth was acquired after leaving the WH broke when there is more information available.

The Eiger
The Eiger

I’ll call out anyone who I think is deserving of being called out. I will also at least try to understand where the other side is coming from on an issue. This can be difficult. With that said I have zero patients for stupidity and blind party loyalty. I was embarrassed that my party opened our convention with a prayer asking God to help us defeat our enemy, the democrats. ISIS is killing people around the world, China is overstepping their territorial boundaries in the South China Sea, Putin is invading sovereign countries and we are praying to God that… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

There are great career opportunities in healthcare and demographics insures it will continue. But to maximize opportunity, keep an eye on your legislation. They more than ever want to control this industry by directing lobbied business and constrict competition at all levels. This drives up costs and taxes and more so if mandated coverage is avoided by expecting fewer providers and more taxpayers to suck it up.

When we demand they hyper control this industry the corporations and lobbyists will be there to see this happens. And it won’t be by making them compete for your business.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Here is Avik Roy of Manhattan Institutes testimony. Neither side will fully agree but it is worthy of consideration for doing something.

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/testimony-avik-roy-house-energy-commerces-subcommittee-health-8865.html