Last statewide insurer in Georgia Obamacare market may stay

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Last statewide insurer in Georgia Obamacare market may stay

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Only one company is still serving patients enrolled in the state’s Obamacare exchange. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

The last insurance company still serving patients in all regions of Georgia under the Obamacare exchange says it won’t back out — yet.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the only remaining company to serve all 159 counties in the state, has filed its annual plans for next year’s insurance market exchange under the Affordable Care Act. In its initial filing, it filed plans for the entire state, said spokeswoman Debbie Diamond.

The decision can still change. Negotiations between insurers and the state will continue for several months.

More immediately, there is the question of rates. The state and Blue Cross will not release the company’s proposed rates until the end of June, when all companies have a deadline to file. If rate increases are too high for people to afford, then that on its own will likely damage the market.

If Blue Cross were to back out and no other company filled the gap, that would leave no insurer for the federal health care exchange in more than 90 Georgia counties. Under the exchange, poorer patients get subsidies that make insurance more affordable.

Speculation has been rampant throughout the nation about what insurers will do next year under the new administration in Washington, with the health care law uncertain. Congress is trying to repeal Obamacare altogether. President Trump has made statements questioning key subsidies that make the Affordable Care Act work, leaving insurers concerned.

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