Why are exchange health plans more expensive in south GA? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Why are exchange health plans more expensive in south GA?

Posted: Updated:
  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Stores gear up for Tax Free Weekend

    Stores gear up for Tax Free Weekend

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:18 AM EDT2014-08-01 09:18:42 GMT
    Retail stores in South Georgia are gearing up for the tax free holiday weekend.More >>
    Retail stores in South Georgia are gearing up for the tax free holiday weekend.More >>
  • Shoppers fire up for tax free holiday

    Shoppers fire up for tax free holiday

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:12 AM EDT2014-08-01 08:12:21 GMT
    Calculators, spirals, backpacks...just a few essentials for back-to-school shopping and with a bonus of a tax free holiday, shoppers will be scrambling to snag the best deals. More >>
    Calculators, spirals, backpacks...just a few essentials for back-to-school shopping and with a bonus of a tax free holiday, shoppers will be scrambling to snag the best deals. More >>
  • Phoebe foundation receives donation for medical student housing

    Phoebe foundation receives donation for medical student housing

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:25 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:25:30 GMT
    Lauren Ray, Phoebe Foundation Executive DirectorLauren Ray, Phoebe Foundation Executive Director
    A generous donation will help build a $5 million medical student housing facility on Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's campus.The Richard King Mellon Foundation donated $1 million to the Phoebe Foundation for the proposed 25-unit gated community. More >>
    A generous donation will help build a $5 million medical student housing facility on Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital's campus.The Richard King Mellon Foundation donated $1 million to the Phoebe Foundation for the proposed 25-unit gated community. More >>
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Now that Georgians can sign up for health insurance under Obamacare, many are asking why the premiums are so much more expensive in south Georgia than any of the other 15 regions in the state. 

Even the government puts part of the blame on Phoebe Putney Hospital's health care monopoly, but Joel Wernick says it's not their fault. "We have a significant impoverished population that consumes a lot more disproportionate share of services, and there are a lot more things that go into it from a community rating standpoint," Wernick said.

We asked the Department of Health and Human Services for an explanation. They refused to answer any questions but did send us this statement:

"The variation in premiums is related to a number of factors, including different product and issuer mixes across states, different levels of competition, state choices in Marketplace implementation, and regional variation in prices paid to providers."

Gov. Nathan Deal decided not to accept millions of dollars from the federal government to expand the state's Medicaid system, so the federal government set up an exchange that is supposed to let uninsured Georgians shop for the health care plan that best suits them.  The problem in our area is that Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company offering plans through the exchange, so choice is limited.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.