South Georgia counties get new individual health insurance provi - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia counties get new individual health insurance provider in 2018

BlueCross and BlueShield of Georgia agreed to offer coverage in the state insurance exchange in 2018, but only for 85 counties that would have had no other health coverage companies. (Source: WALB) BlueCross and BlueShield of Georgia agreed to offer coverage in the state insurance exchange in 2018, but only for 85 counties that would have had no other health coverage companies. (Source: WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

Anthem, the parent company of Blue Cross, had announced in June they were exiting Georgia's individual insurance market.

However, on Monday, State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens' office reported that BlueCross and BlueShield of Georgia agreed to offer coverage in the state insurance exchange in 2018, but only for 85 counties that would have had no other health coverage companies.

BlueCross is the sole health plan offering exchange coverage this year in all of Georgia's 159 counties. If Blue Cross had pulled out, the commissioner's office said it would have devastated Georgia's market.

"You would have had thousands of people in that 85 county area that would have either had to change jobs, or go without coverage, or move.  Really that would have been their options if they wanted health insurance," said Florence.

The insurance commissioners office reported that Ambetter, or Peach State, will be the only insurance provider in 2018 for the exchange for Dougherty, Lee, Worth, Sumter, and Mitchell counties.  

BlueCross of Georgia wanted to make sure you realize individuals with employer sponsored insurance or Medicare are not impacted by these decisions.

A spokesperson for the insurance company had this to say:

For more than seven decades, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) has served consumers in the Individual market, and throughout that time our commitment remained the same: to provide access to affordable, quality health care. 

A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed. We are pleased that some steps have been taken to address the long term challenges all health plans serving the individual market are facing. However, the continued uncertainty makes it difficult for us to offer Individual health plans statewide.

Beginning in 2018, BCBSGa will offer on and off exchange Individual health plans in 85, mostly rural counties that would otherwise not have health insurance coverage for their residents.  It’s important to note, individuals who have employer sponsored insurance or Medicare are not impacted by these changes. 

BCBSGa will remain focused on developments in the Individual marketplace and will continue to advocate for solutions that will stabilize the market and allow us to once again, offer individual insurance coverage throughout the state of Georgia. - Debbie Diamond

Here is a list of the Georgia counties, and the 2018 projected health insurance companies:

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