Is the insurance exchange in Georgia a harbinger of things to come?

In an article for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Carrie Teagarden and Misty Williams question the Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hedgens claims of major increases in insurance costs for individuals in the state. Ralph has asked the Obama administration to delay approval rates for individual health plans. He said the new rates would cost some consumers more than double what they are paying today.
In complete contradiction to every promise made by the President with regard to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, “Insurance companies in Georgia have filed rate plans increasing health insurance rates up to 198 percent for some individuals Hedgens” said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. He sent the letter Monday and released it publicly on Tuesday.
The state must approve or deny dozens of health plans to be sold on a new federally run insurance website, called an exchange, that is critical to the Affordable Care Act’s goal of insuring millions of Americans. The deadline to approve plans is Wednesday, but Hudgens is asking for a 30-day extension.
“I want to protect the consumers of the state of Georgia. When these prices are going up, I don’t want people to blame me,” Hudgens told the AJC. “I’m going to be up for re-election come 2014.” Since the commissioner announced the request for a delay two of the seven insurance companies have opted out of the exchange leaving five insurance companies to handle the exchange activity. It is likely he will get the requested delay because the federal government rather than the state manages this insurance exchange. In any case it will be interesting to see if similar problems arise in other states that have asked the federal government to oversee the all important insurance exchanges.

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