Obamacare 2015 Rates – Georgia

Obamacare 2015 rates for Georgia are now live. A quick review of rates by ages and zip codes seems to indicate a replay of last year with Humana and Blue Cross dominating the field OFF the exchange.


Obamacare subsidies

There are no advantages to purchasing ON the exchange unless you are subsidy eligible. Taxpayer funded subsidies are scaled according to income and family size. For Georgia, in round figures, you may be eligible for a subsidy if are a household of one and your income is between $11,500 and $45,000.

For a family of two the income range is $15,500 and $62,000. A family of three may be eligible if their income ranges from $19,500 and $78,000. A four family group is looking at an income of $23,500 and $94,000.

The lower your income in that range the bigger the subsidy.

You can browse plans and rates by zip by following this link to healthcare.gov

This year you can “shop” rates without registering your information.

We are unable to assist you again in 2015 if you want a subsidized plan. We suggest you follow the link above or call 800-318-2596 for assistance.


Links to OFF exchange plans and rates

The quoting service we used for years became unreliable and very pricey so we decided to terminate that contract. Under the new arrangement, most people will only be able to buy or change plans for 2 months out of the year which makes paying 12 months for a service that is only usable for 2 months a bit unrealistic.


If you currently have Aetna, Assurant, Cigna or Coventry and are losing your coverage

you should consider the Humana POS/PPO plans below.


BCBSGA (Blue Cross Georgia) – click here to review plans and rates. You may also apply direct if you see a plan you like. Keep in mind that ALL Blue Cross 2015 rates are for HMO plans only. If you wish to apply for a plan make sure your doctor(s) are in the network. You may use this provider search link before you review plans if you wish. You can also check prescription drug lists to make sure your medications are included in the pharmacy benefit.

Click to view BCBSGA plans and 2015 rates

Humana One

Humana is also competitive for 2015 and offers a choice of HMO plans and PPO plans. Most people will prefer the broad NPOS (National Point of Service) network over the smaller HMO network which is only available in select zip codes. Use this link to review participating providers in the Humana networks. If you want to search the Humana drug formulary, use this link.

When quoting Humana plans you will see a green button on the left hand side that says FIND MEDICAL PLANS. Click it.

On the next page enter in your DOB and gender under APPLICANT. Do the same for spouse and children. Scroll down and click QUOTE NOW

On the following page click CONTINUE TO SHOP FOR INSURANCE

The next page will show you a summary of plans from the lowest premium to the highest. Consider only the POS/PPO plans and avoid the HMO options where available.

Silver plans will usually offer the best value.

Two plans, one with a $6300 integrated deductible and another with a $3650 integrated deductible are HSA qualified. Your maximum out of pocket is your deductible. Everything above the deductible is covered at 100%.

The other options include copay’s for doctor and Rx. Pay close attention to your maximum out of pocket. Even though they have lower deductibles than $6300 the Bronze and Silver plans have about the same maximum out of pocket as the $6300 deductible plan.

Gold and Platinum plans should only be considered if your regular medical expenses exceed around $1000 per month.

Call or email if you have questions.

Click to view Humana plans and 2015 rates

Humana One

Assurant is back and offering 2015 rates for Georgia. Their plans are a bit weaker and rates are considerably higher for 2015. They will have a good dental plan for those that want the ability to use any dentist. You can review Assurant 2015 plans and rates here.

You may call or email me at any time if you have questions.

How Much Does Medigap Cost in Georgia?

How do I find affordable Medigap coverage in Georgia? How are Medicare supplement premiums determined? Is Medigap plan F the best? Which GA carriers have the lowest Medigap cost? Isn’t Medicare Advantage much less expensive? medigap cost


How much does Medigap cost in Georgia?

It’s all over the boards. A shrewd shopper can find rates less than $100 per month to over $300.

Some rate factors are beyond your control. Things like where you live and your age are what they are. Younger people (age 65) pay less than someone who is 80. Seniors in Macon pay less than someone in Atlanta.

How do you find the best Medigap rates?

  • Consider something other than plan F
  • Don’t fall prey to the “big company” syndrome
  • Never shop direct with a carrier
  • Don’t allow a stranger in your home that wants to “review your options”

We have access to over 170 Medicare plans in Georgia and will always show you the lowest Medigap cost.

medigap cost


Isn’t Medicare Advantage much less expensive?

Yes, and no.

Medicare Advantage plans have lower premiums and are great plans until you get sick and need them. If you don’t have a problem with letting an insurance company pick your doctor for you, and telling you which drugs are covered under their plan, you might actually like an Advantage plan.

Healthy people love Medicare Advantage plans.

Medigap costs less when you need health care.

You can buy a Medigap plan at any time, as long as you are healthy or in a guaranteed coverage time limit.

If you like saving money, and don’t mind a small deductible and doctor copay’s but want the freedom to use any doctor you want, we can show you a Medicare supplement plan that might fit your needs and budget.

Let us help you keep your Medigap cost affordable while offering the most flexibility in coverage.

How Much Does Medicare Supplement Plan F Cost in Georgia?

Is Medicare supplement plan F expensive in Georgia? How much should I expect to pay? Who has the lowest premiums? Is Blue Cross a good Medigap company or is Mutual of Omaha better?


Is Medicare supplement plan F expensive in Georgia?

Expensive is a relative term. The real question you should be asking is, do you need all that Medigap plan F has to offer and does it fit your budget?

Plan F is the most comprehensive of all plans in Georgia.  medicare supplement plan f

It is also the most expensive.

Perhaps this is why most agents, especially the ones that insist on coming to your home, only talk about plan F. The more expensive the plan is, the more money the agent makes.

There is nothing wrong with that. The agent has bills to pay. But personally I see no reason why an agent should expect to pay all their bills by selling you the most expensive plan in his briefcase without ever telling you about plans that deliver better value.

What do you think?


How much should you expect to pay for Medicare supplement plan F in Georgia.

Well, it depends.

Medigap rates are generally based on your age, zip code and the plan you pick. In most cases there are different rates for males vs. females, tobacco use. Some carriers also adjust rates based on your weight and insulin usage.

A female age 65, non-tobacco user living in Macon, GA could find rates for Medicare supplement plan F starting at $127 per month or as high as $250 per month. If she bought a plan from AARP she would pay $166 per month, or $176 from Blue Cross.

What does she get for an extra $39 per month from AARP or additional $49 from Blue Cross?


Medicare supplement plan F benefits are designed by Medicare. Every plan is exactly identical in every way. When you pay more you don’t get more, you simply paid too much.

Who needs that extra $500 – $600 per year more? You,  AARP or Blue Cross?

Are you paying too much? Most of our clients pocket an extra $450 per year or more in savings.

medicareplansgeorgia (1)



Is Blue Cross Medicare supplement plan F better than Mutual of Omaha or AARP?

Better? No.

More expensive? Yes.

All Medicare plans are the same. You don’t have to believe me, check it out for yourself in the Choosing a Medigap Plan book from Medicare.

Is there any reason to pay more?

Not that I can think of.


Why should I buy a Medigap plan from an insurance agent rather than direct from the carrier?

Good question.

When you buy direct from a carrier (or an agent that only offers one carrier) you get . . .

  • Information on that lone carrier and nothing else
  • If you call the 800 number you “Press 1 for English” followed by get voice mail
  • Calling the carrier direct means you talk with a different person every time
  • Buying direct from the carrier gives you the same rates and plans you could have from an independent agent
  • Carriers generally only call you back when it is convenient for them
  • Carriers don’t answer your email questions
  • Carriers don’t provide a spread sheet comparison of their Medicare supplement plan to other carriers

What’s so special about Bob Vineyard and Georgia Medicare Insurance Shop?

  • You get the benefit of my 38 years experience
  • I am a “boomer” who understands your needs
  • We survey the entire Georgia Medigap market, over 170 plans, and show you the best
  • We know which carriers are brand new and offering “low-ball sucker” rates and which ones have a stable history
  • We can show you the plans with the best value, and that is rarely Medicare supplement plan F . . .

Are you ready to start saving money? Click the image below.

Medicare quote front CW

Affordable Health Care in Georgia Doesn’t Exist in Albany

If you live in southwest Georgia and want affordable health care you are out of luck. The Albany area, served by Phoebe Putney hospitals, has some of the highest prices in the nation. This means Albany are residents pay more for their Obamacare health insurance than just about anyone else.            affordable health care in albany georgia

But wait. It get’s worse.

If you have a Blue Cross #Obamacare plan, Phoebe Putney is not in their HMO network. In fact, there are no BCBSGA participating hospitals within 100 miles of Albany, Georgia. Blue Cross charges more than most other carriers for a similar plan and gives you fewer hospitals.

How do you save money on your health insurance premiums and still have affordable health care in southwest Georgia? We have a solution but you need to understand why health care in Albany is so expensive.

A report from Kaiser Health News details the high cost of affordable care in southwest Georgia and points the blame clearly at Phoebe Putney hospital. But first a little background on their research.

If Lee Mullins lived in Pittsburgh, he could buy mid-level health coverage for his family for $940 a month. If he lived in Beverly Hills, he would pay $1,405.

But Mullins, who builds custom swimming pools, lives in Southwest Georgia. Here, a similar health plan for his family of four costs $2,654 a month.

This largely agrarian pocket of Georgia, where peanuts and pecans are major crops and hunters bag alligators up to 10 feet long, is nearly the most expensive place in the nation to buy health insurance through the new online marketplaces created by the federal health law. The only place with higher premiums are the Colorado mountain resort areas around Aspen and Vail, a high-cost-of-living area unlike Georgia.

The report, while interesting, misses the mark.

Yes, health insurance is high there, partly because of Phoebe Putney, and partially because of Obamacare. But you have options if you want more affordable health insurance coverage and you want to have access to Phoebe Putney hospitals and doctors.

All the dynamics that drive up health costs have coalesced here in Southwest Georgia, pushing up premiums.  Expensive chronic conditions such as obesity and cancer are common among the quarter million people in this region. One hospital system dominates the area, leaving little competition. Only one insurer is offering policies in the online marketplace, and many physicians are not participating, limiting consumer choice.

If want to buy your health insurance on the Obamacare exchange, your only choice is Blue Cross of Georgia.

But if you buy OFF the exchange you have more choices. Georgia Insurance Shop offers consumers in Lee and Dougherty county and surrounding areas several approved ACA health insurance plans that include Phoebe Putney in their network. When you look for affordable health care in Albany you have to know where to shop and compare ACA health insurance options.

We have several health insurance plans with broader networks and much lower premiums than BCBSGA. The Kaiser article implies you don’t have options, but in fact you have several choices. But you need to hurry. Your last chance to sign up for a health insurance plan, or make a change in March 31, 2014. After that your next open enrollment is November, 15.

I bet you didn’t know about that Obamacare requirement. The government considers that a feature, not a bug.

You can have affordable health care in southwest Georgia but you have to think beyond Blue Cross. Click now to find health insurance plans in your area.

Obamacare Plans Block Access to Health Care

Thousands of patients are scrambling to get medical procedures done before the new year. Why? New Obamacare plans block access to health careaccess to health care providers.

Those who were receiving medical care before being forced to sign up to a new plan on HealthCare.gov will, in many cases, be locked out of hospitals and prevented from seeing doctors who they had typically used. The WSJ contends that about 70% of new plans are more restrictive in the range of doctors and hospitals available to patients than their predecessors.


Most ACA Obamacare health insurance plans sold on the exchange in Georgia are HMO policies with limited access to health care from doctors and hospitals. Some plans only have one hospital in network. If you live in rural Georgia you may drive past several hospitals to get to one that is in your network.

If you buy a Blue Cross of Georgia plan your only choice, on or off the exchange, is an HMO. When you have an HMO you have limited access to health care.

If you want unfettered access to health care you need to consider broad network PPO plans available OUTSIDE the exchange. Bob Vineyard at Georgia Insurance Shop can help you choose from up to 80 different ACA health insurance plans that are only available off the exchange.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act may argue that procedures will continue to be available, the plans severely curb access to health care from certain doctors and hospitals, preventing patients from getting the level of care they are used to at their usual price. In particular, insurers now using the Obamacare system have begun to exclude major academic institutions from their coverage, as these compete with cheaper community hospitals ostensibly providing the same service.

Under Obamacare it is no longer your doctor, your choice, if you buy from the exchange.

If you already bought an exchange plan, or a BCBSGA plan (on or off the exchange) it is not too late to correct your mistake. Let us help you find a plan that fits your needs and budget and gives you full access to health care.


Dental Insurance Georgia

Dental insurance, affordable Georgia plans to fit every budget. No waiting period on many dental insurance plans. No restrictions on pre-existing conditions.

Georgia Insurance Shop has dental insurance plans from many leading carriers including BCBSGA, Cigna, Humana and more.

Most dental plans are not insurance. Understand the difference BEFORE you buy.Humana One

  • dental plans offer discounts, not insurance coverage
  • dental plans can only be used at a small number of dental practices
  • dental plans are cheap for a reason. You have NO coverage

Dental insurance will actually PAY for most procedures. Many dental insurance plans cover routine exams and cleanings at no charge to you. For basic and major dental work, your dental insurance plan will pay a portion of the bill and you will be responsible for the balance.

Some dental plans, such as those offered by Blue Cross (BCBSGA) only pay a flat amount leaving you to owe a bundle for your treatment.

If you want a Cigna dental insurance plan you must first buy their major medical insurance.

Other dental insurance plans, including the C550 from Humana, offer the following benefits and do not require you to purchase health insurance from them..

  • no waiting period
  • no deductibles
  • copay’s for most procedures
  • no annual or lifetime maximum cap on benefits

Dental discount plans are generally priced in the $6 – $11 monthly range. Dental insurance plans begin around $16 per month for single coverage and can range upwards of $40 or more. Dental insurance plans that deliver the most VALUE do not have to be expensive. Many, such as Humana C550 offer tremendous value.

Obamacare Casualties

Five more health insurance companies become casualties in the Obamacare war on consumers. Aetna, Cigna, Guardian, American Community and Pekin will all leave the individual major medical market in the next few months. Together, these 5 insurance companies cover about 10% of those with individual health insurance in the state of Indiana.

Obamacare sinking

As reported by the IBJ . . .

Their major complaint is about the new health law’s requirement that at least 80 percent of premiums be spent on medical bills. That new rule, known formally as a medical loss ratio or MLR, takes effect this year for all individual policies the insurers hold, not just new policies.

The insurers argue that the marketing and administrative expenses on individual policies are so high that they cannot transition so quickly to the new standard.

Even if they could make the change, policyholder services are already suffering due to downsized customer service departments. This means longer hold times and a greater chance of getting voice mail in lieu of a real person.

Many carriers have already shifted their customer service overseas to places like India and Pakistan where wages are lower.

Imposing loss ratio's on company's operating in a competitive market is stupid to say the least. If a carrier spends too much on themselves and it leads to an increase in premium rates they will lose market share.

The idiot's in DC look at pockets where market saturation is dominated by one or more carriers and claim this is proof positive that more regulation is needed. According to the report, Anthem Blue Cross has a 65% market share which politicians use to defend their position.

I look at the same thing and say they must be doing something right, delivering good value, or else their market share would be significantly less.

Golden Rule health insurance is number 2 in Indiana with 10% of the market.

If Blue Cross has 6.5x the market share of Golden Rule one must conclude that Blue delivers a better value than Golden Rule. Their pricing has nothing to do with how much, or how little, either carrier spends internally on administration.

So far Georgia is pretty much immune to the wholesale withdrawal by health insurance companies but our time is coming. I would not be surprised to see Aetna or Cigna pull out of Georgia before the end of the year.

Their products have failed to deliver good value for some time and the same can be said for Golden Rule who have been uncompetitive for over 3 years now.

Bob Vineyard at Georgia Insurance Shop is willing to help GA citizens find affordable health insurance for individuals, families and business owners.

Blue Cross Ends Medicare Guaranteed Issue

Blue Cross of Georgia Medicare supplement plans have been guaranteed issue for anyone who currently has a Medicare supplement plan through another carrier. We have just been notified this practice is ending.

New applications submitted before 6/23/2011 will go through normal underwriting channels and subject to acceptance or decline.

If you are currently covered by a Georgia Medicare supplement plan through another carrier and want a comparison quote we will be glad to provide one or you can quote direct through our website.

If you want to apply for a Medicare supplement plan under the guaranteed issue rules, here is a link to the application. You will need to complete the application and send it to me no later than 6/21/2010.

BCBSGA Medicare supplement plan rates are still competitive in many situations. It is unclear at this point how this guaranteed issue program will impact rates going forward but given the abrupt change in underwriting we anticipate future increases could be harsh.

Georgia Insurance Shop and Georgia Medicare Plans have affordable Medicare supplement plans for almost any budget.

Gerber, United of Omaha Offline

If you are looking online for Medicare supplement plan rates in Georgia, you will not see plans from Gerber or United of Omaha. Currently the only Medigap rates are through BCBSGA.

Nothing official, but this usually means a rate increase is coming and possibly one or more plans will no longer be available. We hope to get to the bottom of this very soon.

While Gerber and United of Omaha have been competitive in some situations, we have more affordable Medigap plans offline.

If you are looking for affordable Medicare supplement plans in GA, feel free to run a quote but for the most competitive plan ask us for a recommendation.