Major health insurance company pulling out of metro Atlanta - CBS46 News

Major health insurance company pulling out of metro Atlanta

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

A major insurance company is pulling health coverage for hundreds of thousands of people in Atlanta. Next year, Blue Cross Blue Shield will no longer be a part of the Obamacare marketplace in the metro Atlanta area. That means nearly 200,000 people will be forced to find new coverage.

The insurer originally wanted to leave the entire state, except for one county, but the insurance commissioner negotiated an agreement that keeps them in 85 counties, so just under half of the state's 159 counties will lose the coverage.

If you are covered with an individual policy from the exchange, you're affected. If you're a small business owner who uses the exchange, you're affected even more.

Health administration experts say the Affordable Care Act has worked fairly well in metro Atlanta, but political confusion over the fate of Obamacare is not good for the marketplace.

"If you don't know who's going to be enrolled, if you don't know the types of costs you're going to face, you can't set a premium to recoup your cost and right now there's just too much uncertainty," says Georgia State University professor Bill Custer.

And when a giant company like Blue Cross Blue Shield leaves a marketplace, consumers will feel it like their own personal earthquake.

"This time in healthcare, where things are very uncertain, this decision really directly impacts patients and takes away healthcare coverage from some of the neediest people who need that coverage," says Atlanta cardiologist Michael Toca. 

Toca says patients have to come first, especially those fighting serious illnesses.

"We all know how difficult it is to find the right doctor as a patient, and that process usually takes a period of time, and this situation where those patients don't have the time, the patients could run out of medications, the patient could be sick and need to see the doctor immediately, and this puts a lot of patients in a position where they will have a difficult time finding a doctor immediately," says Toca.

Blue Cross Blue Shield's decision to leave metro Atlanta will only affect those with individual coverage, not those covered under their jobs, but some employers can't afford coverage and relied on Obamacare for their workers.

They could be hit hard.

Critics say this is evidence of politics being bad for your health because one thing is clear in all the confusion. People's healthcare will suffer.

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