General news and features
As of last Friday, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, had not received a reply from Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Hudgens had penned a very public letter to the Secretary, requesting a 30-day extension for Georgia’s approval of seven company insurers competing to provide health insurance coverage within the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) healthcare exchange program. The letter made reference to “massive rate increases” and requested that Department “show cause” as to why the increases were not justified in light of the ACA. See original Statement from Commissioner Hudgens.
Hudgens’ letter was dated July 29 (one day before the Commissioner’s deadline to submit his findings to HHS). He requested that a response be delivered on July 30.
According to the letter, of the seven actuaries hired to evaluate the participant insurers’ submissions, six had deemed the submissions as “justifiable” within the ACA. One actuary reported that one of the submissions was 11 percent above the justifiable range.
The commissioner cited one instance in which a non-smoking male, aged 24 years, would likely experience an increase in his insurance premium from between 85-198 percent.
Bill Custer, director of The Center for Health Services Research within Georgia State University, believes this estimate is in anomaly. Custer notes that some premiums will rise for certain individuals (most notably for males and young people) in order to spread risk amongst patient population segments.
“The law requires that insurance companies bring in sick people, and bringing in sick people increases risk and costs. However, I don’t expect an increase of more than 20 percent in any one class of insured people [in the exchange].”
Custer notes that provisions within the law limit large rate disparities between customer classes. A 3:1 ratio cannot be exceeded (meaning a rate for one class cannot exceed three times the cost of any other rate class).
Transportation Director says previous chaos led to safety issues
Some parents of Pickens County students say the recent changes to the bus transportation policy have left them scrambling to find childcare after school lets out.
But the school system’s transportation director Bruce Godfrey said the changes have been put in place for the sole reason of keeping Pickens students safe, not to make it easier on bus drivers or the system as a whole.
A post on The Pickens County GOP website gained national attention on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. The screenshot was taken from the Comedy Central website.
A Thursday, July 25 post on the Pickens County GOP website caught the eye of Comedy Central’s Steven Colbert, who on the Thursday, Aug. 1 edition of the Colbert Report chaffs the local political party.
But a representative with the local GOP says the comments weren’t originally theirs, and that they simply reposted a story from another website to “provide information and to educate people about news going on in the country.”
Two employees of the Younglife Camp in the Grandview area were rescued by a Forsyth County Swiftwater Rescuse team this morning on the access road leading to the camp. See full rescue of first stranded person from YouTube.
The two employees were in a truck that washed downstream lodging on a formed island that developed after a flash flood swept through the narrow creek channel, blowing out culverts.
Graduation and Life
Preparation for All
This week's Progress contains a Back to School special section that the Progress partnered with the school system to produce.
• Columns from all principals with basics about their schools
• Accreditation Information
• Curriculum Information
• Lunchroom/ Meal Plan Information
• Homeroom Class Rosters for all schools, grades