No interest in new Ga. insurance plan

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ATLANTA — A new state law aimed at fueling more competition in the health insurance industry has so far not generated the results some had expected.

Lawmakers passed a measure allowing Georgians to buy health insurance plans approved by other states. It was envisioned by supporters as a path to lower prices and increased choices.

However, not a single insurer is offering a policy under the measure, signed into law last year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (http://bit.ly/KlYSeF ).

“Nobody has even asked to be approved to sell across state lines,” Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said. “We’re dumbfounded. We are absolutely dumbfounded.”

Hudgens, a conservative Republican who strongly supports free-market ideas, said he expected policies sold in states such as Alabama, which have fewer requirements for health plans, to be offered in Georgia after enactment of the law.

The law was aimed at encouraging more competition in the private market for health plans, which are used mostly by people who can’t get insurance at work.

Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, was the lead sponsor of the legislation. Insurers could have used the law beginning in December, when detailed regulations were finished.

Insurers are hesitant to change their business models until the Supreme Court decides whether the federal health care law is constitutional — a ruling expected in June, Ramsey said. The outcome of that case has significant implications for every health insurer.

“I think everyone is kind of waiting, and I do not blame them,” Ramsey said.


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