About Those BCBSGA Rate Increases . . .

If it seems like Blue Cross is the favorite punching bag of Washington and the media, it is not just your imagination.  Anthem/Wellpoint, parent of several Blue Cross plans (including Blue Cross of Georgia), is catching most of the heat.

Frankly, most of the criticism is a cheap, political ploy that is more theatrics than substance. But now it seems the AJC has jumped on the bandwagon in attacking the Georgia Blue Cross plans.

Alex Sabbeth’s anger went through the roof when he recently received nearly a 72 percent increase in his health insurance premium.

He sees it as proof of the health insurance industry’s desire for profits.

“Out of a habit of greed, they are raising people’s rates,”

This is a fairly common reaction, but without basis in fact.

Sabbeth’s policy — with a $10,000 deductible — was with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia. He had been paying $241.99 a month. The company’s letter told him that the new rate would be $415.40 a month, a one-shot increase of 71.6 percent.

He had just turned 60 years old, and while he is in good health he does have noncancerous lesions removed from his face about once a year.

Depending on how long he has been with Blue Cross, the increase could be part of their “normal” routine. Having worked with BCBSGA for several years I know their policies tend to get fairly pricey from the third year on. They are generally not a company I recommend if one is going to need coverage for more than a couple of years.

Blue is one of the few carriers that still use 5 year age brackets which means a big jump in renewal rates for ages that end in 0 or 5.

And the skin lesions have nothing to do with his renewal.

Sabbeth is concerned that the insurance company is trying to drive him off with the increase. He’s already searching around for a new policy.

Searching for a new policy is the right thing to do as long as he is aware his pre-existing condition will affect any final offer from a new carrier. Depending on the details, and the carrier he picks, it may not be a major issue. But most folks don’t know how to navigate the process of searching for and finding a plan that covers what is needed and delivers real value.

At Georgia Insurance Shop we pre-screen all applications before they are ever submitted to the carrier for review.

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