ACA enrollment underway, with fewer provider options in Georgia - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

ACA enrollment underway, with fewer provider options in Georgia

(Source: Healthcare.gov) (Source: Healthcare.gov)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Increasing premiums under the Affordable Care Act have thousands of people in our area wondering what their next move should be when it comes to renewing that coverage.

Open enrollment on the government's Health Insurance Marketplace started Tuesday and lasts until January 31st.

But waiting too long to decide could impact your coverage and your health. 

It all has to do with choice. This year there are fewer healthcare provider options with government subsidies in Georgia. There are only five in the state compared to nine last year.

"It's because they're not making any money. A lot of people want to blame this on the insurance companies, and I am one of those people who want to also blame the insurance companies. But in the big picture, if they were making money, they would stay," said Bill Lucas. 

Lucas has worked in the health insurance field for more than 30 years. And as the industry has evolved, especially with the creation of the Affordable Care Act, he's finding more people have more questions, or just don't understand, how changes will affect them. 

Lucas said, "I believe that people who had United Healthcare, that people who had Coventry, that people who had Humana, which Humana and Coventry were probably the most popular plans in this area, 90 percent of those people will probably lose their doctors this coming open enrollment."

Lucas explained that if you want to keep your doctor, it might mean you'll have to pay more.
He adds another important point is some policies don't cross state lines, depending on where you sign up. 

"Every policy sold on Healthcare.gov that includes Chatham County will not let you have any doctors outside the state, except for a life-threatening, limb-threatening emergency,” Lucas said.

Lucas said there's a lot of fine print that people miss, or don't pay attention to when enrolling for an Affordable Care Act policy. For example, he says not everybody is aware that if you buy a Healthcare.gov policy when you're offered one through work, it could cost you thousands at the end of the year.

"If your company's offering you single coverage, and they've got three plans, and one's a really, really bad plan you think...but that plan is cheaper than 10 percent of your income...and you buy a Healthcare.gov policy for you and your entire family, you owe all that money back,” Lucas said.

Click here for information Lucas' office has put together on open enrollment. 

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