In a move that may set off some alarm bells, two Atlanta hospitals of joined together to form their own health insurance company. Whether the alarms should be ringing the minds of the sick seeking aid or the companies that will now have to compete with the hospitals only time will tell, but for now the new company promises improved care for less cost.
Piedmont and WellStar, two of Atlanta's largest hospital systems, said Monday they are forming an insurance company -- a bold move in a rapidly changing health care marketplace.
By elbowing their way into the domain of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and United Healthcare, the hospital systems could dramatically increase the competition in the state's insurance marketplace. The move could also change the way patients get care, because the hospital systems will have a financial stake in keeping patients healthy and controlling costs.
The impact could be especially significant if the Piedmont-WellStar health plan is included on the health law's insurance exchange, where many Georgians will shop for plans and qualify for federal subsidies to help pay for their coverage in 2014.