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blue cross blue shield insurance georgia

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is proposing an average increase of 40 percent to insurance premiums on the individual marketplace next year through the Affordable Care Act. The proposed rate hikes come as Congress continues to debate health care.

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Georgia's largest health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, has started a new rule:  it will deny coverage to individual policyholders for emergency room visits the company deems to be unnecessary.  

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The idea is to address the soaring costs that are racked up when patients go to the ER for problems that should be handled in a doctor's office or a clinic.

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While Democrats and Republicans in Washington fight over how to reform the Affordable Care Act and keep cost increases in line, there's a fight happening in Georgia as well. 

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Brenna Beech / WABE File

The state insurance department says it will monitor the new emergency room policy of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia “to make sure that it is not abused to the disadvantage of Georgia policyholders.”

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In a Friday, May 6, 2016 photo, LSU medical student Felicia Venable, left, examines a patient as fellow students and medical residents observe during daily rounds at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La.
Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Starting in July, health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia will stop covering emergency room visits it deems unnecessary.

And doctors and analysts have a lot to say about it. 

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is enacting this policy because it doesn't want people to use the emergency room as their primary health care.  

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