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?

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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.

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