If all goes as planned Georgians in eight counties will have access to Oscar Health policies when the Affordable Care Act exchange opens up Nov. 1, said a spokesman, Brad Weekes. Oscar plans to offer policies in Butts, Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, Fulton, Paulding, Spalding and Troup counties.
WellStar has also renewed its ACA contract with Ambetter, making for two health insurance networks for individual health insurance customers who go to WellStar, its dozen hospitals and its thousands of health care providers.
A second company, CareSource, has also said it intends to join the Georgia exchange, expanding the state’s ACA market to six health insurance companies.
CareSource won’t be in Cobb. No company will be in every county, but every Georgia county should be covered by at least one company.
It’s been a rocky road for Anthem customers. Anthem policyholders in Cobb County, where WellStar hospitals and health care facilities dominate, were already locked into their 2019 policies when they got the news that Anthem would no longer have WellStar in its network effective Feb. 4. They had 11 months left to go with their hospitals or doctors out of network. Anthem is formerly known as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia.
Georgia regulators hoped federal regulators would open up a special enrollment period for those customers and let them switch companies. But that didn’t happen.
Patients sued. The state got some minor concessions from Anthem. But so far Anthem has largely continued its WellStar pullout and customers must remain in those plans through December.
Oscar Health touts its focus on technology, and was co-founded by Josh Kushner, brother of the presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.