Atlantans To See Health Insurance Premium Hike | WABE 90.1 FM

Atlantans To See Health Insurance Premium Hike

Oct 25, 2016

Health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act are going up in Georgia.

That's according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, which says the average hike in metro Atlanta will be 13 percent before tax credits.

According to the report, metro Atlanta residents eligible for tax credits won’t see a change in their premiums, if they're open to switching to another health care plan.

Professor Bill Custer, a health insurance expert at Georgia State University, said some people will have to make it can a difficult decision.

"Changing plans in itself can be a hardship for some families because it means they may not have access to the same physicians and pharmacies and they may have to travel farther to get to their doctors,” Custer said. “So changing plans is not a trivial decision."

Custer said in some parts of Georgia, where Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only insurer, patients could see a 60 percent increase in their monthly premiums.

Insurance companies like Aetna and UnitedHealthcare withdrew from Georgia's marketplace earlier this year.

Cindy Zeldin, director of the health policy group Georgians for a Healthy Future, said this doesn't mean everyone's premiums are increasing.

"It's really important for consumers to start that process now of looking at the range of options, exploring the tax credits, and accessing free in-person local help if they can to navigate through this," Zeldin said.

She said many people tell her they didn’t know they were eligible for tax credits or exit the application process before seeing the discount applied. Off-exchange insurance plans are not eligible for tax credits.

The open enrollment period for 2017 opens Nov. 1.

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