Georgians have just a few days left to pick individual coverage plans on the Affordable Care Act health care exchange. And for many people around the state, they’ll have a few more options to choose from this year.
Two new insurers are offering the state’s Obamacare exchange, and officials with both companies attribute their decisions to increased market stability.
“Rates have stabilized, enrollment has stabilized,” said Mario Schlosser, CEO of Oscar Health, which will offer plans in Georgia for the first time. “Those are important precursors for us to go into a market.”
Oscar has said for years that it wanted to break into the insurance market in Atlanta. The relative calm that’s settled over the state’s insurance market provided them the opening to do so.
Overall, rates in Georgia are down for 2020 plans among insurers returning to the market. The Affordable Care Act has also proved it’s not going anywhere, despite continued efforts from the Trump administration to undermine the healthcare law.
And, so far, there still seems to be strong demand for coverage. With just a handful of days left before the end of open enrollment, sign-ups are about where they were this time last year. As of late November, about 145,000 Georgians had picked plans.
“Now that we have the time and longevity under our belt, it makes it easier to predict your costs, provide the benefits that the consumers need,” said Darren Morgan with CareSource, which has also decided to offer plans.
CareSource, which contracts with Georgia to administer Medicaid plans, enters the individual insurance market with coverage options in Atlanta, Gainesville, and Savannah.
That means some people buying individual coverage will have three or more insurance providers to pick from. Residents of some counties in metro Atlanta will have as many as five options.
The picture is less rosy in rural Georgia. Large parts of the state still have only one insurer offering plans on the Obamacare exchange.
However state officials are pushing a proposal they hope will change that: a reinsurance program aimed at enticing more insurance companies to offer individual plans.
Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage ends December 15.