Ground rules for the battle on health insurance changed focus - from political issues to health insurance premiums for millions of Americans.
According to experts those under employer based insurance or Medicare or Medicaid - won't change things too much, 5% of the Georgians under individual coverage may feel the shock of change or maybe not too much according to some.
Advertisement"We're talking about a small sliver of the population that's going to be affected," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president with the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.
A study by consulting firm Oliver Wyman predicted a 40% increase for people in the individual plan. The report stated that the individual premiums for young adults in Atlanta would rise 179% that is from $612 to $1,716.
Many analysts disagree - "There are a lot of scare tactics out there," said Kathleen Stoll, director of health policy for Families USA, a non-profit advocate for affordable health care. "I don't believe the myth of rate shock."
Stoll felt the young adults would not be badly affected as till 26 they could stay under their parents insurance. There were bound to be tax credits when they bought insurance from the online exchange beginning Jan 14th.Those with pre-existing conditions would benefit.
As 900,000 Georgians were expected to buy insurance from the federally run state exchanges, tax credits would offset premiums to some extent.
According to the Affordable Care Act 10 essential benefits like - maternity care, mental care, etc. were not mandated, so individuals who opted for these services paid 47% more than those who exempted the said 10 essential benefits.
Bill Custer, a Georgia State University professor and health care policy analyst felt, "There is little chance that average premiums paid will rise by 40 percent, and it is very unlikely that any individual will see premiums rise by 179 percent solely due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,"
The rate of premiums will be determined only by the number of healthy and young individuals who will buy insurance covers.
"There's a concern all things being equal (that people) are more likely to sign up if they know they're pregnant or have cancer or HIV," said Karen Pollitz, a private insurance expert for the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Though it is mandatory to buy insurance, many may choose to pay the penalty for not buying insurance which is $ 95 or 1% of family income which will increase to $695 for an adult by 2016.
The issue is fogged up due to political divide over Obamacare. Earlier in the Republican dominated Georgia State, insurers were asked to include rate increases in the premiums due to the health law. "This is nothing more than a political attack on the President's bill," Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Marietta, said during the floor debate.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
David Markiewicz and Misty Williams, March 2013
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