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Insurance commissioner asks for rates submission delay

ATLANTA — Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said Tuesday that he has asked the federal government for a delay in Wednesday’s filing deadline for insurance rates under the federal Affordable care Act.

“President Obama promised Americans that Obamacare would lower rates, but here in Georgia insurance companies are demanding massive rate increases up to 198 percent for some individuals” Commissioner Hudgens said today.

Hudgens said he has asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to show reasons why the rates submitted by Georgia health insurers are not justified by the ACA. He said that companies that are opting to participate in the federal insurance exchange created under the program have provided his office with that their rates are justified and in compliance with Georgia law, citing the new ACA mandates as the reason.

Under the act, states were to create insurance exchanges where individuals could purchase coverage. Georgia is not participating in that program, which means the Georgia exchange will be set up by the federal government.

He asked Sebelius for an emergency 30-day delay of submission of his rate review, which is due Wednesday, to allow his department’s staff additional time to analysis the increases.

“I was always skeptical of Obamacare”, Hudgens said. “But I never imagined that it would lead to rates being doubled or tripled.

“Increases of this magnitude will make coverage less affordable and increase the number of uninsured in Georgia.”

Hudgens has asked for a response to his request by close of business today.