The effects of the recession continue to be seen among carriers in the South, particularly the Blues in both Alabama and Georgia where big drops in enrollment and earnings in 2008 were reported. However, brokers point out that these two plans dominate their markets and are not about to be taken down by a year of losses. They are already beginning to rebound and neither actually fell into the red. Except for Kaiser, which sustained losses, other big commercial plans in Georgia (UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, CIGNA, Humana and Coventry) actually added members, and Humana made a lucrative deal to reinsure members of Evergreen Health Plan. In addition to the recession, the Georgia Blues took another hit in 2008, losing its state employee contract where it had 176,799 members last year, and it is now the target of a lawsuit brought by out-of-network surgical centers cutting reimbursement rates. Louisiana's answer to poor economic times is the consumer-driven health plan, which thrives in that state. The Louisiana Blues and Humana lead with those plans with more than 175,000 CDHP members between them. The other big news in the Louisiana market is Peoples Health's buyout of its equal partner, Tenet Healthcare. The transaction opened the door for the Peoples to extend its provider network, which was once confined to only Tenet facilities._____


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