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Wal-Marts, Health Care In Your Shopping Cart!

Kaiser Health News reports that Wal-Mart is opening up clinics in a handful of stores in Georgia as well as South Carolina and Texas.

Maybe you’ve picked up a prescription medication or been fitted for a pair of eyeglasses at Wal-Mart. But would you trust Wal-Mart with your larger medical care?



Georgia Health Insurers to offer child only policies

With a large number of un-insured children in Georgia, this new health insurance initiative is going to help a lot of families who cannot get coverage for their children under their own policies or through coverage to dependents via employers.

Georgia Health Insurers to Offer Child-Only Policies

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has signed an order allowing insurance companies to begin selling individual policies for children next year.


Georgia health insurance companies want to raise individual and small group policy premiums

Several Georgia health insurance companies are currently seeking to raise premiums on individual and small-group policies by 12 - 25% These companies include Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, and Kaiser, as well as Celtic Insurance, Connecticut General Life, Trustmark Life, and Union Security. A major element of the Affordable Care Act was to inject more transparency into insurance pricing. A provision in the health reform law called “rate review,’’ wherein any insurer proposing a double-digit hike in an individual or small-group plan must submit more documentation to justify it.

Rate review targets double-digit premium hikes | Georgia Health News

Tom Carswell of the Georgia insurance department said state reviewers consider, among other factors, changes in general medical inflation and an insurer’s losses from medical claims in determining whether to approve a rate increase. The costs of an individual or small-group plan can skyrocket with one catastrophic illness, regulators note.

Often the insurer is approved for an increase, but it’s smaller than the one requested, said state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. “If they ask for 12 percent, we may approve 8.5 percent,’’ he said.


Insurer halts Medicare Advantage Sales in Georgia

State regulators are concerned over Universal Health Care's finances. The company currently has about 25,000 Georgians in its Advantage plans, which are an alternative to traditional Medicare. But with a net loss of $27 million in 2011 and the $22.1 million in the first six months of 2012 State regulators felt the need to step in and halt sales of new Health Insurance Plans. Current plans are still being paid out.

Insurer halts Medicare Advantage sales in Georgia | Georgia Health News

“If you extrapolate the first six months, you’re looking at $45 million in losses,’’ Hudgens told GHN on Tuesday.

As its population ages, Georgia remains woefully short of geriatricians 

Some of Georgia's elderly are eligible for care through the VA, though alot more are not. And for these people, doctors who specialise in caring for the elderly are simply not available. Speaking with medical students, few study the geriatrics electives, and some medical schools do not have geriatric rotations in the 3rd and 4th years of study. The baby boomers, the immediate post-World War II generation, are one of the largest population blocs in U.S. history. And on Jan. 1, 2011, the first members of this generation turned 65. 

Last year, more than a million Georgians were over  65. But the state had only 124 certified geriatricians according to a 2012 report by the American Geriatrics Society. That means the state is short by 318 geriatricians.

As its population ages, Georgia remains woefully short of geriatricians | Georgia Health News

“Geriatricians have a distinct set of skills for taking care of older adults, especially the frail ones who have complex medical problems,” said Brangman. “You can’t just give the same doses to a 90-year-old that you would give to a 40-year-old. Even within geriatrics, a 65-year-old and a 90-year-old have very different issues.”