Increased Competition Leads to Cheaper 2015 Obamacare Premiums in Georgia

Georgia’s consumers have an additional four insurers to choose from on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act, and this increased competition has led to lower premiums throughout much of the state. A Department of Health and Human Services study released yesterday shows that the average monthly premium (pre-tax credits) for the second-cheapest Silver insurance plan for a 27-year-old in Georgia has dropped 6% – from $235 to $220.

Mike wrote about the market power of Blue Cross Blue Shield yesterday, and this was also evident in 2014’s individual market. Southwest Georgia made national news this February for being the 2nd most expensive region in the nation for health insurance, thanks in part to BCBS’s monopoly power in the region as the sole provider on the Marketplace. The second-cheapest Silver plan in Doughtery County has changed from a $395 BCBS plan in 2014 to a $306 UnitedHealthcare plan in 2015 – a 23% plummet in monthly premiums. This increased competition isn’t limited to Southwest Georgia – the average number of plans on the Marketplace for each Georgia county has nearly doubled from 22 to 41 in the past year.

To be sure, prices haven’t fallen in every county in Georgia – the second-lowest Silver plan in Fulton County, which had plenty of competition in 2014, ticked up slightly from $205 to $209. Residents in Atlanta still face lower costs and have more choices than the rest of the state, with the number of plans rising from 62 to 94 in 2015. All-in-all, though, competition from new insurers entering Georgia’s market means that Georgians shopping for insurance on the individual market through HealthCare.gov will face lower costs and increased choice this year.

 

14 comments

  1. ryanhawk says:

    Keep spinning while reality bites those facing 300% premium increases due to non-compliant plans being cancelled and replaced. So far the ACA debate has been about principles. The next election will be about pocketbooks.

    • I haven’t been 27 for a while but even when I was 23 and bought health insurance on my own it wasn’t $60 (which it would have to be for a”300%” increase).

      • ryanhawk says:

        Well you need to get out and talk to a few more working folks Chris. The families I’m talking to are seeing an increase from less than 200 a month (for a non compliant plan) to more than 600 for an ACA “bronze” level plan or 800 plus for a “gold” plan. What percent increase would you call that?

        In states like PA, OH, MO, etc… it won’t take many people like this to make a difference in 2016.

    • NoTeabagging says:

      Yes Ryan, It happened in my family on two AETNA single policies. They were grandfathered last year and we thought at least one would survive. Nope. Higher premiums less benefits. +50 age range. One policy had $10k deductible, $139 mo. including six office visits w/copay and prescription co-pay. AETNA’s new offers were $419-$520 a month for a $6350 deductible and less office visits with co-pay. Another adult had a $5k deductible, 6 office visits/yr., Dental plan at $281 month. New offers $419-$520 a month, fewer office visits, NO dental, $5k-6350 deductible.
      Should women older than childbearing age have to pay for maternity care? Should non-child subscibers have to pay for pediatric dental and other ACA mandated “child” benefits?

      Just thinking this could lower premiums for older folks, If we weren’t paying for these non-applicable mandated benefits.
      I would totally love lower rates up front and NOT have to apply for a government refund. The government should not be subsidizing the Insurance industry. It baffles me that the Republicans don’t like this welfare for big insurance business. I would think they love it.

  2. I understand this is what the GOP has built basically their entire political strategy over eliminating this program, to the point that all other business or progress has ground to a halt for over 6 years. Not because it was a bad policy (Romneycare, anyone?) but because it became it cause du jour to obstruct the business of the nation.

    Even now, when Obma’s Care shows a free market reaction to robust competition leading toward a trend of sanity in premium amounts, there will be those who will whine about ‘hidden costs’.

    Well my brothers, don’t even get to investigating how many ‘hidden costs’ there are in a loaf of bread. It will blow your mind and cause you to halt all government progress while you frothily investigate Roman Mealgate™

    Like Benghazi, only smarter.

    • Harry says:

      I guess we’re just fixated on the detail of being able to afford the monthly premiums to pay for this mediocre gift horse, in addition to paying the high deductibles out of pocket.

      • NoTeabagging says:

        But wait, If you make less than $46K a year you can get a refund from the government to offset these outrageously higher rates. There’s your spoonful of sugar.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      And on Benghazi, the existing investigating Committee, the seventh on Benghazi, will need to hold on until Clinton declares, or else the GOP will need to get an eighth one underway.

  3. seenbetrdayz says:

    And the ER’s are still overflowing with indigent patients who can’t put any payment down on their visit, and yet they sit and play on their smart phones while they wait to see the doctor.

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