A screenshot of the federal healthcare.gov website for enrollment in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Photo: Ariel Hart
Photo: Ariel Hart

Georgia Obamacare finally stable: More companies, sign-ups for 2020

It’s official: At least for this year, the Georgia Obamacare exchange market has stabilized.

Sign-ups for 2020 health coverage under the Affordable Care Act increased slightly in the state, to 463,910, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That’s compared with 458,437 who signed up the year before.

In addition to stable enrollment, another marker of stability was the addition of two insurers to the Georgia market, Oscar Health and CareSource. Six companies now offer plans here under the ACA.

It’s the first increase in enrollment in Georgia since the Trump administration took office — shortening the enrollment period, encouraging non-ACA coverage, decreasing funding for enrollment assistance, and working with Republican lawmakers to gut the individual mandate that every American have health insurance.

Experts said the small increase in Georgia enrollment is statistically akin to just staying the same. But it’s a far cry from recent years when Georgia premium prices soared, political controversy roared and sign-ups tanked.

They attribute the leveling off largely to stable prices.

Georgia insurance companies’ premium prices changed by single digits compared with last year’s rates. That’s except for Alliant, whose prices decreased 10.2%. Prices are certainly still high, though, especially for those who don’t qualify for subsidies.

Experts believe that companies were too optimistic about the ACA market in its early years. They priced premiums too low, then realized costs were more expensive and had to levy huge premium increases. They seem to understand the market now, and for the moment those big price hikes seem to have leveled off.

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