During the health care debate leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) many argued that consumers should be able to purchase health insurance across state lines. Basically, if you live in New York you could purchase health insurance from an insurer in New Jersey.
Proponents of purchasing health insurance across state lines thought this would make health insurance rates more competitive across the country and would allow consumers to save money by purchasing more affordable plans.
Currently there are three states that have passed laws intending to allow out-of-state health insurers to offer policies to residents including Rhode Island, Wyoming and Georgia.
Georgia passed the law almost exactly a year ago and many are considering it to be a failure.
Not one out-of-state health insurer has requested to offer plans in Georgia since the law was passed in 2011. Instead of health insurers flooding to Georgia to offer plans in the state, many aren’t jumping to the opportunity.
Reasons for the lack of interest could mainly be due to the fact that many health insurance companies are waiting until the Supreme Court makes a decision on health care reform. Instead of acting, many health insurers seem to be in a waiting pattern.
Another issue could be that health insurers are not interested in joining the market, spending money on advertising in a state they don’t have presence in and trying to maintain certain Medical Loss Ratios (MLR) as defined by the ACA. This all requires a lot of work and planning at a time when many health insurance companies are just trying to keep up with ACA regulations and deadlines.
While the experiment in Georgia is an interesting one, Georgia may have enacted the legislation at the wrong time. Either way, maybe health insurers will join the market in the future and provide Georgia residents another source for health insurance.