The Peach Pulse: December 2015

The holidays are behind us and the legislative session is here! Here’s what you need to know about December before we get too far into January!


Upcoming Events

STDHealth Care Unscrambled 2016

It’s not too late to register! Health Care Unscrambled, GHF’s signature event, is this Thursday. Join us for breakfast and conversation with a bipartisan panel of legislators who are focusing on health policy issues under the Gold Dome this session. Then stick around for a deep dive on emerging issues for health advocates with Lynn Quincy of Consumers Union and Sue Polis from Trust for America’s Health.

RSVP

 

Legislative-Webinar-4-15-2Webinar: A Look Ahead at Health Care Policy in the 2016 Georgia Legislative Session

Can’t make it to Health Care Unscrambled? You can still get the information you need to advocate on health care policy issues in the 2016 legislative session by attending our upcoming webinar. We will preview expected health care legislation,present GHF’s policy priorities, and let you know how you can get involved. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21st, noon to 1 pm.

Register Here

 

Getting What You Pay For: Consumer Protections for Network Adequacy, Surprise Medical Bills, and Provider Directories

February 2, 2016 – 8am
Freight Depot, Blue Room

Join us and Georgia Watch for a policy forum featuring an in-depth panel discussion on network adequacy, surprise medical bills and provider directories. Panelists will speak on how these issues are impacting consumers in Georgia and across the nation, policy implications, current legislative work and how you can get involved in supporting advocacy efforts. The panel will feature:

  • Senator Dean Burke, District 11
  • Julie Silas, Consumer Union
  • Meredith Gonsahn, Georgians for a Healthy Future
  • Beth Stephens, Georgia Watch

RSVP


Policy Updates
Study committee work has finished, reports trickle in

Georgia legislative study committees meet during the off-session to study and make recommendations for the General Assembly around specific policy issues. GHF has been following and participating in the study committees focused on health issues impacting consumers. Read our Health Policy Analyst Meredith Gonsahn’s blog for a run-down of committees that have published their reports, the issues they investigated, and report recommendations.

Read blog.

GHF releases our policy priorities

Policy_Priority_ThumbnailThe 2016 Legislative Session has officially begun and at GHF we have released our 2016 policy priorities. You can download the PDF below or you can watch the one minute video by clicking on the image to the right for a quick run-down!

Download our 2016 policy priorities


ACA Implementation Research Network

Dec18.2015forumIn December, the ACA Implementation Research Network released its Georgia state report at a policy forum held at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director Cindy Zeldin participated in a discussion with advocates, policymakers, and stakeholders to reflect on the report’s findings. The conversation ranged from health insurance enrollment best practices to health system reform to what it will take to close the coverage gap in Georgia.

Download the Report


Enrollment Update

Parker & Sharda Tankoo_enrolled 2016 (3)By the 9th week of Open Enrollment 3, more than 8.6 million consumers nationally and 517,000 in Georgia have enrolled in health care coverage through the Marketplace. In addition to GHF’s collaborative work with the enrollment assistance community, we also help individuals and families enroll in health insurance! We have assisted more than 70 individuals and families with enrollment and post enrollment related services, and enrolled 60 consumers into Marketplace plans during OE3. GHF continues to provide enrollment and post enrollment assistance to consumers through its main office in downtown Atlanta, its weekly enrollment site at Switzer public library in Marietta, and through other events in partnership with community organizations, coalition partners, and other non-profit organizations.

Contact our enrollment assister 


New Look, Same GHF

Have you been to our website recently? If you haven’t, you should! We have revamped our site to be more engaging and intuitive. It’s chock full of tools and resources to help you get up to speed on the issues you care about and to take action during the legislative session and throughout the year. Check it out!


GHF In the News

Tom Crawford: Here’s a salute to the accomplishments of 2015
Gainsville Times | December 30, 2015

Exchange enrollment nears 500,000 in Georgia
AJC | December 22, 2015

Insurers’ woes threaten the Affordable Care Act
Atlanta Business Chronicle | December 18, 2015

State senator expects legislation on insurance reform
Georgia Health News | December 15, 2015

See more 


GHF Welcomes New Intern!

VictoriaVictoria Congleton joins the GHF team in our efforts to improve health policies in Georgia. Victoria will work on various tasks during her time with GHF to learn about all of the components of health advocacy in Georgia. Victoria hopes to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, health policies, the legislative session, and other health topics. She is currently finishing up her Bachelors in Community Health and French at SUNY Potsdam.

 

 


ICYMI: GHF is on LinkedIn

linkedin_largeGHF has joined the LinkedIn community and we’d love to connect with you! Check out our page, follow us and let the conversations begin!


See what’s happening on our social sites

linkedin_largepinterest_largefacebook_largetwitter_large_02

 

 

 

 


Peach Pulse, November 2015

POLICY UPDATES

Network Adequacy – We Have a Model Act!

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners approved an updated network adequacy model act at its Fall meeting in November. The model act is a framework that states can adopt to help ensure that consumers have meaningful and timely access to the health services in their benefit package. With more insurance companies offering narrow network plans, these basic standards are an important consumer protection, and GHF encourages state policymakers to consider tailoring and adopting the model act in Georgia. We’ll be announcing our legislative priorities for 2016 soon, and this issue will be on the list!

Study Committees Conclude Their Work

Meredith and Claire 11.15Several health-related study committees met during the summer and fall months, and most of them are wrapping up their work. The Consumer and Provider Protection Act Study Committee held its final open meeting in November with a focus on network adequacy and provider directories. Claire McAndrew from Families USA, a national consumer health advocacy organization, and Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Health Policy Analyst Meredith Gonsahn delivered testimony on the importance of setting network adequacy standards and ensuring provider directory accuracy and usability. Look out for a final report from the committee in December!

Read Meredith’s Testimony

Read Claire’s Testimony

Concerns Grow about Proposed Mergers

Earlier this year, two separate proposed health insurance mergers were announced. A November New York Times article laid out some of the concerns that consumer advocates have about the proposed mergers and featured comments from Cindy Zeldin, Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director. Our Health Policy Analyst Meredith Gonsahn is monitoring this important issue – be on the lookout for a policy brief in the new year that provides more detailed insights about the potential effects of these mergers. You can also learn more by visiting the Coalition to Protect Patient Choice.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Health Care Unscrambled 2016

STDPlease save the date for the morning of January 14th for our annual Health Care Unscrambled policy breakfast. The breakfast will feature a bipartisan panel of legislators who will preview the health care issues they plan to focus on during the legislative session, a keynote panel discussion about emerging health policy issues, and opportunities to network with fellow health advocates. Registration is now open!

RSVP!

Sponsorship Opportunities

 

 

 


GHF IN THE COMMUNITY

Coverage and Access to Care: Local Focus on Savannah

Photo Nov 06, 10 44 15 AMGeorgians for a Healthy Future hit the road again recently, this time to Savannah! We collaborated with the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute and the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council to pull together a local roundtable discussion with individuals and organizations serving the local community. We learned so much about the coverage and access challenges facing individuals and families in Savannah.

Read Laura’s Blog

 

 

GHF in North Fulton

Laura North Fulton 11.15North Fulton Community Charities, a non-profit human service agency that assists families in need in North Fulton County, invited Georgians for a Healthy Future to present our Medicaid chart book to its community leaders. Board members, city and county council people, and state legislators were in attendance, along with interested community members. We had a constructive conversation with participants about how Georgia can close the coverage gap. If your organization, church, or community group would like us to present at your next meeting (either about closing the coverage gap or about helping people enroll in health insurance), contact Laura.

 

 

 


 

PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE IN SPANISH

Get Insured. Stay Insured.

Spanish toolkitThis toolkit is designed to walk people through each step of the enrollment process, from how to select the right plan for them, to how to find a doctor, and even things to keep in mind when filing taxes if they receive a subsidy. Hard copies of the Spanish toolkit are available, please email Whitney for more information.

Download Spanish Toolkit.

 

 

 

My Health Insurance User’s Manual

Spanish workbookThis workbook is a take-home, interactive resource for the newly enrolled. People can fill in the workbook with their own information so they have all of their important health coverage information in one place. If your organization is interested in obtaining hard copies of the workbook in Spanish, please contact Whitney.

Download Spanish Workbook.

 

 

 

Thank You!

GGD2015_logo_home133wIn addition to November being a busy month full of community engagement, health insurance enrollment, and public policy advances, it was also a month for gratitude and reflection. This Thanksgiving, the 300,000 Georgians who fall into the coverage gap were in our thoughts. In the coming year, we plan to redouble our efforts to close the coverage gap in Georgia. Your contributions on Georgia Gives Day will support our advocacy campaign in 2016 to close this gap. The Georgians for a Healthy Future team thanks you for your support. And if you missed Georgia Gives Day, don’t worry – you can still give here.

 

 

 

 


GHF in the News

Obamacare insurance premiums on the rise in Georgia

AJC | November 29, 2015

Closer Look: Health Care; Peachtree-Pine Shelter; And More

WABE | November 24, 2015

States Urged to Review Health Insurance Mergers

New York Times | November 20, 2015

 


Peach Pulse, October 2015


NEW PUBLICATIONS

Get Insured. Stay Insured.

ghf_toolkit_160x600Our new toolkit is designed to walk people through each step of the enrollment process, from how to select the right plan for them, to how to find a doctor, and even things to keep in mind when filing taxes if they receive a subsidy. Each piece of the toolkit can be used individually based on where the person is in the enrollment process or it can be used as one comprehensive piece. If you have any questions about the toolkit or would like to receive hard copies (for pick up only in most cases) please contact Whitney Griggs.

Download Toolkit.

My Health Insurance User’s Manual

Cover_ImageThis workbook is a take-home, interactive resource for the newly enrolled. It covers topics that enrollment assisters may not have time to cover during the enrollment appointment, such as how to find a primary care provider, how to make your first appointment, and even how to make a budget. People can fill in the workbook with their own information so they have all of their important health coverage information in one place.

Download Workbook.


 

Study Committees Continue Their Work

Cindy TiftonGeorgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director Cindy Zeldin traveled to Tifton in October to participate in the second meeting of the Consumer and Provider Protection Act Study Committee. The meeting was held at the Tift Regional Health System and featured testimony from a range of health care stakeholders. The third meeting of the committee was held on Monday, November 9th at 9am at the State Capitol in Atlanta and focused on network adequacy, an important issue for health care consumers. Click here to read Cindy’s blog on the study committee’s work.


 

 

PAST EVENTS

GEAR Webinar

GHF_5_pcpinoutetworkThis webinar introduced the Georgia Enrollment Assistance Resource (GEAR) Network. We created GEAR to be a resource for navigators, certified application counselors, community-based nonprofits, and other stakeholders who are interested in outreach and enrollment in Georgia. Through GEAR, you can access an array of Georgia-specific consumer-facing materials in English and Spanish. Participation in GEAR is free and is intended to be a community resource.

Sign up for the GEAR Newsletter.

Watch the Webinar.

 

Getting and Keeping Georgia Covered.

GHF and Enroll America teamed up to host an all day conference in advance of the start of Open Enrollment. If you missed it, check out this resources page for tons of valuable resources!

Photo Oct 28, 11 27 48 AM Photo Oct 28, 10 53 16 AM
Photo Oct 28, 9 30 13 AM Photo Oct 28, 9 26 18 AM

Policy Luncheon on Preventing Youth Substance Use

This forum featured a panel of experts who shared their academic, research, and personal experiences, demonstrating not only the need for, but the effectiveness of SBIRT in preventing substance use disorders. Check out the videos below hear more about by SBIRT matters.

Sissy_SBIRT_Video_Thumbnail_ SBIRT_Thumbnail
Dr._Seale_Thumbnail Dr._Kuperminc_SBIRT_Thurmbnail

Read the policy report.

 


UGA’s State of Public Health Conference: Featuring GHF

SOPH 9.15Last week, GHF was on the road again traveling to Athens for UGA’s annual State of Public Health conference. The SOPH conference is a chance for public health researchers, practitioners, and students to share and learn about the newest public health initiatives and research happening across Georgia. We were excited to be featured as a presenter among other experts, advocates, and leaders in Georgia’s public health domain. In a workshop dedicated to the Affordable Care Act, GHF teamed up with Georgia Watch to talk about Marketplace enrollment efforts in Georgia.  The presentation was based on GHF’s “Getting Georgia Covered” report, which explored the successes and barriers to outreach and enrollment efforts in Open Enrollment 2. We also previewed the upcoming open enrollment period, which starts on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, and advocated for closing Georgia’s coverage gap. The other presenters in the workshop, including another presentation from our partner Georgia Watch, comprehensively covered the new ACA requirement for hospitals to complete a community health needs assessment (CHNA) of their service area every 2-3 years and how that is being implemented in Georgia. The workshop generated some excellent questions and constructive conversation about these two very different aspects of the ACA.


IN THE NEWS

Georgians face key health insurance decisions during open enrollment

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Georgia Health News

 

WRBL

 

Soundbite Services

 

See more.


GHF Welcomes Yaminah, new Grassroots Advocacy Fellow!

YaminahYaminah Romulus joins the GHF team as the Grassroots Advocacy Fellow. She will work to develop GHF’s outreach strategy and collaborate the staff on policy analysis work. Yaminah is currently pursuing a Master’s of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Some of her interests include access to care for vulnerable populations, barriers to quality care, and the improvement of health care delivery systems.


Peach Pulse, September 2015


NEW PUBLICATIONS

A Chart Book for Understanding Medicaid in Georgia and the Opportunity to Improve It

Georgians for a Healthy Future and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute are proud to release our joint publication: Understanding Medicaid in Georgia and the Opportunity to Improve It. Inside you will find infographics, new data, and compelling charts that simplify the complex issue of Medicaid in Georgia.

13_Adult Workers 19_Close Gap Good Economy
 12_Percent Uninsured GA Map  04_MedicaidPeachCare

Part one explains who gets Medicaid in Georgia, how Medicaid protects Georgians during economic downturns, how Medicaid controls costs in the state, and more.

Part two outlines Georgia’s opportunity to close the coverage gap.  Here you’ll find out what Georgia’s health insurance coverage gap is, how we can use Medicaid to close it, and who stands to benefit detailed by job sector, demographics, and veteran status.

Part three details economic and social benefits of closing the coverage gap. Why is closing the coverage gap is a good deal for Georgia and the state’s economy? What are the savings other states realize by closing the gap? How does coverage affect a person’s financial and physical health?

A limited number of hard copies of this new publication are available. Please let us know if you or your organization would like one. We are also available to provide presentations to your members about Medicaid in Georgia and the opportunity to improve it by closing the coverage gap. Please contact Laura Colbert if you’re interested in a community presentation.

Download the chartbook!

Many Working Parents and Families in Georgia Would Benefit from Extending Medicaid Coverage

Rate_of_Uninsurance_in_GA_CCFWe  know that closing Georgia’s coverage gap would help adults who are uninsured. But how does it affect families and children in our state? GHF and Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families have teamed up to bring you new research to answer that question. Key findings include:

  • Nearly three-in-ten Georgians potentially eligible for coverage should Georgia choose to close the coverage gap are parents with dependent children residing in their home.
  • Of those parents that could benefit from expanded Medicaid eligibility, nearly two-thirds (57 percent) are employed. Nearly half of all uninsured parents (46 percent) work in restaurants, retail, or professional service occupations.

Children enrolled in Medicaid are more likely to receive well-child care and are significantly less likely to have unmet or delayed needs for medical care, dental care, and prescription drug use due to cost.


 

UPCOMING EVENTS

GEAR up for Open Enrollment

Webinar
October 19
2:00 – 3:00 PM

Please join us for a webinar to introduce the new Georgia Enrollment Assistance Resource Network-GEAR! GEAR is the new central hub of resources for Georgia’s enrollment assisters and stakeholders who work to educate people on their health and health coverage options. GEAR is full of handouts, interactive consumer tools, important updates, and other materials that will help enrollment assisters and community organizations better educate Georgians on health insurance enrollment, health insurance literacy, and more.

Toolkit_Logo toolkit5

Want to learn more about GEAR and how you and/or your organization can benefit?  Join us on October 19th for a webinar where we will demonstrate how to access GEAR and review some of the materials that can be found there. We will also get your feedback about other resources you would like to see included on GEAR in the future. GEAR is built to help more Georgians connect to health coverage and we want it to work for you!

Sign up for the webinar!

 

Policy Luncheon on Preventing Youth Substance Use

October 22, 11:30 AM – 1:45 PM
Loudermilk Center, Ann Cramer Room

SBIRT bookmarkPlease join us for a policy forum to take a deep dive into promising, cost-effective best practices to reduce youth substance abuse in Georgia. This lunchtime event will be held just prior to the second meeting of the Senate Study Committee on Preventing Youth Substance Use Disorders and will feature opening remarks by Senator Renee Unterman, the chair of the study committee and the Senate Health and Human Services committee. The forum will also include a panel discussion featuring:

Dr. Paul Seale, Navicent Health

Dr. Gabe Kuperminc, Georgia State University

Leigh Colburn, Director, Graduate Marietta Student Success Center

Bertrand Brown, Georgia Council on Substance Abuse

After the panelists’ presentations there will be time for question and answer. This is a free event, but we ask that you RSVP so that we may order enough food.

RSVP Now!


 

PAST EVENTS

Local Spotlight on Augusta

In Augusta last week, GHF met with local providers, advocates, and consumers to talk about Augusta’s coverage gap. More than a presentation, the event was a constructive conversation about finding a solution and making Augusta healthier. It was clear to us that people in Augusta are dedicated to helping their neighbors and closing the coverage gap.

 Augusta5  Photo Sep 24, 9 16 04 AM

The event was previewed and then written up in the Augusta Chronicle.

Event Write Up

“The state of Georgia will eventually expand its Medicaid program “because the numbers are so compelling,” a health care economist for Georgia State University said Thursday at a policy forum in Augusta.”

Event Preview

“Medicaid already covers 1.9 million people in Georgia, about 64 percent of whom are children, despite “very restrictive” limits on who can qualify, particularly for adults, according to a report being released today by Zeldin’s group and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.”

 

GHF’s First Annual Consumer Health Impact Awards

What a night! GHF honored Georgia’s most inspiring health advocates, community partners, and policymakers at our first annual Consumer Health Impact Awards dinner in September. If you missed the event and want to see what all the fuss was about, check our our Storify or the photos on Facebook.

Thank you to our sponsors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Legislative Study Committee Insights

Cindy Study Committee 9.15Study committees are the framework for the legislative session. It’s where legislators, experts, and advocates roll up their sleeves and study the issues facing Georgians. Below you’ll find two windows into the study committee process. The first is a deep dive into the Senate Study Committee on the Consumer and Provider Protection Act (SR 561) by GHF Executive Director Cindy Zeldin who serves on the committee and is very involved in addressing network adequacy.  The second is a breakdown by GHF Policy Analyst Meredith Gonsahn on the health-related committees meeting over the next several weeks.

Study Committee on the Consumer Provider and Protection Act

Read more about the study committees


 

IN THE NEWS

Expanding Medicaid coverage in Georgia has benefits, experts say

Augusta Chronicle | September 24, 2015

 

Georgia, Augusta are missing out on Medicaid, group says 

Augusta Chronicle | September 23, 2015

 

Health insurance rates headed up in 2016

Georgia Health News | September 14, 2015

– See more at: http://backup.jasonaxelson.com/september-peach-pulse#sthash.2QoeAfib.dpuf


Peach Pulse, August 2015


Atlanta Journal-Constitution Op-ed on GA Uninsured Rate

DSC_0912 (2)GHF’s ED Cindy Zeldin took to the pages of theAtlanta Journal-Constitution last month to make the case for coverage:
“The clearest evidence we have shows us the decision by the majority of states (30 and counting) to expand Medicaid is foundational in transforming the health system. We cannot make progress as a state if 15 percent of our population is uninsured. Too many Georgians fall into a coverage gap our leaders can fix. Medicaid expansion should be on the table, not as a perfect solution, but as a necessary first step.”

 

IN THE NEWS

Medicaid experiment should foster dialogue

Atlanta Journal-Constitution | August 28, 2015

 

Narrow networks are the exchange norm here

Georgia Health News | August 25, 2015

 

State outlines argument against Medicaid “waiver”

Georgia Health News | August 13, 2015

 

Former state insurance chief wary of big mergers

Georgia Health News | August 2, 2015


 

We’re updating our look!

As we grow, GHF is looking to the future. We’ve updated our logo and this fall we will be rolling out a new website! Stay tuned for more details.

Logo PNG

 


Peach Pulse, July 2015


Network Adequacy Takes the Stage

During the 2015 Legislative Session, the State Senate established the Consumer and Provider Protection Act Study Committee. This committee will review and make recommendations around several health insurance practices, including network adequacy. GHF has identified network adequacy, or the sufficiency of the health care providers patients can access when they enroll in a health insurance plan, as an important emerging consumer health issue. Our Executive Director, Cindy Zeldin, is a member of the study committee and looks forward to bringing the consumer perspective to the committee’s work. Cindy also recently appeared on WABE and Top Docs Radio to talk about network adequacy and participated in a panel discussion along with several state legislators at the Medical Association of Georgia’s Summer Legislative Education Seminar to discuss this important issue. Stay tuned for study committee agendas, updates, and opportunities to weigh in!

Study Committee Schedule
September 14, 9:00 – 12:00
State Capitol

October 26, 2:00 – 5:00
Tift Regional Healthy System, Tifton

November 9, 9:00 – 12:00
State Capitol

 


Don’t Miss Out: GHF’s Consumer Health Impact Awards

CHIA TwitterYou’re invited to Georgians for a Healthy Future’s First Annual Consumer Health Impact Awards! Please join us for a silent auction, dinner, and awards presentation on the evening on September 9th at Park Tavern.  We look forward to gathering with friends old and new as we celebrate the work being done by those dedicated to ensuring all Georgians have access to quality, affordable health care.

 


GHF in the News

Gainesville Times | July 30, 2015
WABE | July 27, 2015

Georgia Health News | July 24, 2015
July 15, 2015

Medicaid Turned 50!

Over the past 50 years, Medicaid has ensured that our family members, friends, and neighbors have the quality health care they need. Be it our seniors accessing long term care services, kids seeing a doctor, or people with disabilities living independently, millions of people are better off because of this critical program.

Medicaid has also shown itself to be an effective and cost-efficient program. Administrative costs are substantially lower than private insurance and because people using Medicaid have access to preventive services, small issues can be addressed before they end up as big, costly illnesses.

catalyst1finalChildren in particular benefit from Medicaid. Studies show that kids with coverage show up at school ready to learn, are more likely to graduate from college, and end up with more earning potential as adults. In fact, more than 1 million Georgia children (about 35% of kids in our state) currently get their health care coverage through Medicaid.

As we reflect on what Medicaid has meant for children and families here in Georgia, it has been nothing short of transformative. And while about 1.9 million Georgians overall benefit from the essential health care access that Medicaid provides, approximately 300,000 Georgians are still stuck in a coverage gap: they don’t qualify for Medicaid under its existing stringent standards, aren’t offered coverage at work, and earn too little to qualify for tax credits through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The majority of states have accepted federal funding to close this gap, but Georgia hasn’t yet taken that step. Closing this gap and extending Medicaid coverage to all low-income Georgians would be a powerful tool for improving the health of individuals and families throughout our state. At Georgians for a Healthy Future we are proud to advocate for the Medicaid program that has been proven to improve health and saves lives. For the millions of Americans, and many Georgians, whose quality of life has been improved because of Medicaid, we’re so happy to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the life-changing program.

catalyst3final

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about Medicaid in Georgia!


 

Have you gotten married recently?

ghf_covered_medskyMajor life events, such as getting married, changing jobs, or having a baby, qualify for you a special 60 day enrollment period.  So after the honeymoon is over, it’s time to #GetCovered!

If you need assistance, our health care Navigator, Pranay Rana, is here to help!

Once you have health insurance, Whitney Griggs, our Consumer Education Specialist, can help answer the questions you have about finding a provider, accessing preventive services, filing a complaint or appeal, or any other question you may have!



 

We’re here to help!

IMG_2520Georgians for a Healthy Future staff is available to come to your coalition or organization meeting to cover any of these topics!

Laura Colbert, Community Outreach Manager.Laura can present on topics like closing Georgia’s coverage gap, how you and your organization can get involved in health advocacy, the effects of health policies on the health of Georgians, and more.
Pranay Rana, Health Insurance Navigator.  Pranay can give presentations on the health insurance marketplace and what you need to know before enrolling in health insurance.  Pranay is also available for individual enrollments.

Whitney Griggs, Consumer Education Specialist.

Whitney can present on health insurance literacy (a breakdown of important health insurance terms and concepts) and how to get the most out of your health insurance. This is especially helpful for groups and communities that have many newly insured members.

Set up a presentation!


 

ICYMI: Social Media Trends

To celebrate Medicaid’s 50th Anniversary, advocates and consumers across the country participated throughout the web with#KeepingUsHealthy and #MedicaidAt50

Check out the Twitter Storm on Storify!
catalyst5final

Peace Pulse, June 2015


King v. Burwell Recap

FB SCOTUS Cover Image

 

 

 

Last month, the Supreme Court upheld subsidies for health insurance bought through the federal marketplace, leaving more than 400,000 Georgians secure in their coverage.

“We celebrate an important victory for health care consumers, and we are relieved that hundreds of thousands of Georgians can keep their coverage,” said Cindy Zeldin, Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director. “But there is still work to do. Georgia has the second highest rate of uninsured in the country, and three-hundred thousand Georgians fall into a coverage gap that was created by Georgia’s decision not to expand Medicaid.”

Now that the outcome of King v. Burwell is clear, we must not forget these workers, parents, and veterans in our state who still lack access to quality, affordable health insurance. It’s time to close the coverage gap.


Need health enrolling or using your insurance?

Jazzie-Jones-Smith-&-Sonny-Jones-Smith

Have you had a major life event recently, such as getting married? You may qualify for a special enrollment period. Pranay Rana, GHF’s health care navigator, is here to help you get covered!   Email Pranay for an appointment or check out his schedule below.

Once you have health insurance, Whitney Griggs, our Consumer Education Specialist, can help answer any questions you may have about finding a provider, accessing preventive services, or filing a complaint or appeal.

Pranay’s Schedule:
 

Switzer Central Library

266 Roswell St, Marietta, GA 30060

Every Thursday 11 AM – 4:00 PM


Moving Forward

 

GHF surveyed and interviewed enrollment assisters across the state to understand not only the “what,” but also the “why” behind the second open enrollment period.  The results of that research have led us to several policy recommendations to maximize health insurance enrollment and retention and to ensure that coverage translates to meaningful access to timely and appropriate medical services for Georgia health care consumers.

  1. Close the coverage gap in Georgia. Approximately 300,000 Georgians fall into the coverage gap, meaning they do not qualify for Medicaid under existing income eligibility guidelines in Georgia but their income is still too low to qualify for financial assistance (tax credits) to purchase health insurance on the Marketplace. Eligibility for tax credits begins at 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or $11,770 for an individual or $20,090 for a family of three in 2015, while Medicaid eligibility for most adults in Georgia cuts off at income much lower. Thirty states including DC have closed their coverage gaps thus far with promising results. We encourage Georgia policymakers to take this important step as well to ensure all Georgians have a pathway to coverage.
  2. Set and enforce network adequacy and transparency standards. Many of the plans sold through the Health Insurance Marketplace are Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans that feature narrow provider networks. While these narrow networks can help keep premiums down, a trade-off many consumers may be willing to make, consumers do not currently have sufficient information to make this choice. There is no information available to consumers at the point of sale about whether a provider network is ultra narrow, narrow, or broad, and provider directories are routinely inaccurate. More transparency and oversight are needed to ensure that consumers have accurate and useful information to make these choices. It is also important that all provider networks allow for meaningful access to all covered benefits. To ensure this, we support putting in place and enforcing network adequacy standards.
  3. Encourage public-private partnerships and remove unnecessary restrictions on consumer education and assistance. Many of the enrollment assisters we surveyed indicated that reducing barriers to partnering with state government organizations such as public colleges, universities, and health departments would lead to stronger and more effective partnerships. Specifically, many respondents indicated that improved coordination between enrollment assisters, the Marketplace, and the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) to better facilitate PeachCare for Kids and Medicaid enrollment would be helpful. The “Health Care Freedom Act,” passed in 2014 as part of HB 943, prohibits state and local governmental entities from operating a health insurance navigator program and places other limitations on governmental entities. This provision has been counterproductive, creating confusion around what educational and consumer assistance activities local entities can engage in as they work to serve their community members. We recommend lifting these restrictions.

GHF UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Save the Date_cropped

You’re invited to Georgians for a Healthy Future’s First Annual Consumer Health Impact Awards!

Please join us for a silent auction, dinner, and awards presentation on the evening on September 9th at Park Tavern.  We look forward to gathering with friends old and new as we celebrate the work being done by those dedicated to ensuring all Georgians have access to quality, affordable health care.  Tickets can be purchased below.

Do you know someone who should be recoginized for one of the below awards?  Nominate them here! Nominations will be accepted through July 31st.

You can view sponsorship opportunities here, or if you have an item you’d like to donate for the silent auction, please email Anna.

Linda Smith Lowe Health Advocacy Award

The Linda Smith Lowe Health Advocacy Award is given each year to an advocate whos work advances access to quality, affordable health care in Georgia. Nominees can be either professional advocates or volunteer advocates and must place a focus on vulnerable populations in their work and must work to achieve policy change. This award is named in honor of Linda Smith Lowe. Linda has dedicated her career to serving as an advocate on behalf of underserved Georgians who need a voice on health and human services issues.

Community Impact Award

The Community Impact Award is given each year to an individual or organization who has made an exceptional contribution to the health of their community in the past year. The impact of this contribution can be either at the individual, local, or state level. Nominees must work with individuals or local organizations to drive advancements in the health of the population served. Nominees may be health care providers, enrollment assisters, health educators, or others.

Powerhouse Policymaker Awards

The Powerhouse Policymaker Awards are given each year to local or state policymakers in Georgia who have exhibited excellence and courage in championing health issues in the public policy arena. Award recipients will have a particular focus on consumers or vulnerable populations and will have worked to advance our vision of a day in which all Georgians have access to the quality, affordable health care they need to lead healthy lives and contribute to the health of their communities.


GHF IN THE NEWS

Cindy King V BurwellAll eyes were on health insurance last month and we were excited to celebrate the victory with the press and with Georgia!

GHF Updates

Meredith HeadshotGHF welcomes a new staff member! Meredith Gonsahn is Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Health Policy Analyst. She joined Georgians for a Healthy Future in July 2015.  In this role she identifies key issues in health policy and how they impact Georgia health care consumers.  Meredith also monitors major trends in public and private health insurance, health system reform and other key policy areas to keep the organization abreast of emerging issues. Meredith comes to Georgians for a Healthy Future from the Atlanta VA Medical Center where she served as a Study Coordinator for a wound care clinical trial. Prior to this position, Meredith was a Research Associate for the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research at Henry Ford Health System. In this role she identified and analyzed key health system reform policies at the Federal, state and local levels to shape the policy agenda for the System. She also served as a liaison to coordinate and submit Affordable Care Act demonstration project applications for System business units.  Meredith has a Master’s of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in History from Duke University.

GHF is also pleased to announce our Executive Director Cindy Zeldin’s appointment to the Senate study committee for SR 561, the Consumer and Provider Protection Act. Full information about study committee appointments can be found here.


ICYMI: Social Media

#ACAHereToStay and #ACAIsWorking started trending in response the the Supreme Court decision

Our favorite tweet last month:

Our favorite infographic last month:

SCOTUS

 


Peach Pulse, May 2015


Open Enrollment 2 Analysis

May was all about analyzing the second open enrollment period.  What went well, what can be improved on and how Georgia did.  GHF staff interviewed health care enrollment assisters across the state and combined that with a detailed analysis of the numbers to put together Getting Georgia Covered: Lessons Learned, Best Practices, and Policy Recommendations from the Second Open Enrollment Period.  

The report covers how new health insurance opportunities created through the Affordable Care Act (ACA ) have led to historic reductions in the nation’s uninsured rate. Here in Georgia, more than half a million consumers signed up for health insurance during the open enrollment period that ended this past February, known as OE 2.

These strong enrollment numbers mean that more Georgia consumers can access the health care services they need and enjoy enhanced financial security for themselves and their families. The reduction in our state’s uninsured rate, although smaller than that of the nation as a whole, also has positive implications for the vitality of local health care systems and communities throughout Georgia.

Too many Georgians, however, remain uninsured, either because

  • they are unaware that there are coverage options that can meet their needs and budget
  • face cultural, linguistic, financial, or other barriers to coverage; or
  • fall into the “coverage gap” that was created when Georgia declined to expand Medicaid as authorized under the ACA

The goals of this report are

  • to explain the role of in-person assistance on enrollment outcomes and consumers’ experiences
  • to explore best practices that helped achieve robust enrollment in Georgia
  • to identify any common challenges or barriers to enrollment that Georgia consumers faced during OE2
  • to highlight promising strategies and approaches to reach the remaining uninsured who qualify for affordable health insurance
  • to put forth policy recommendations that can help facilitate a positive experience for health care consumers, both for those who are newly enrolled and for those who remain uninsured.
Georgia OE2 by the Numbers GHF_enrollment_sticker

 


Getting Georgia Covered Event

On May 13, GHF hosted a lunch panel discussion on best practices, lessons learned, and policy recommendations from the second open enrollment period.  During the event, GHF released it’s new report on the topic.  You can download it here.

IMG_7787
IMG_7809 IMG_3029

To see additional pictures from the even, please visit our facebook page!

Additional Resources from the event:

Whitney Girggs’s Presentation – GHF

Dante McKay’s Presentation – Enroll America

Lisa Stein’s Presentation – Seedco

Sarah Sessoms’s Presentation – InsureGA

 

Panelists

Enroll America: Danté McKay, Georgia State Director

Georgians for a Healthy Future: Whitney Griggs, Consumer Education Specialist

US Department of Health & Human Services: Dr. Pamela Roshell, Region 4 Director

InsureGA: Sarah Sessoms, Executive Director

SEEDCO:  Lisa Stein, Vice President Work and Family Supports


GHF in the News!

nwsppr

From the end of open enrollment to the looming King v Burwell decision to the ongoing need to close Georgia’s coverage gap, health policy continues to dominate the headlines, and GHF is at the forefront of the conversation! Check out the news coverage below to learn more about what’s happening in Georgia and how it impacts health care consumers in our state.

 

 

 


Open Enrollment Success, Lessons Learned, and Policy Recommendations

Whitney Griggs, a consumer education specialist with Georgians for a Healthy Future, speaks on A Closer Look with Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer about the recently approved FLEX bus serving Cobb communities. (Photo/Brenna Beech)

Whitney Griggs, a consumer education specialist with Georgians for a Healthy Future, speaks on A Closer Look with Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer about the recently approved FLEX bus serving Cobb communities. (Photo/Brenna Beech)

Click the articles below to learn more about what worked well for consumers, what challenges and barriers they still face, and what changes can be made at both the community and policy levels to connect Georgians to health coverage and make sure that coverage translates to meaningful access to care.


 

Op-ed in the AJC

CindyZeldin_Headshot - CopyA road to health coverage for Georgians

“More than a half-million Georgians signed up for health coverage during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period that ended in February. Many were previously uninsured. These robust enrollment figures show Georgia consumers strongly value health insurance and the access to care and financial security it can bring. An unmet demand is finally being met.

To gain a better understanding of this enrollment success story and what’s next for Georgia’s newly covered consumers, Georgians for a Healthy Future reached out to the enrollment assistance community – health insurance navigators and certified application counselors – and reviewed available data on plan offerings, premiums and enrollment. Three key themes emerged.”

Read the complete article


King v. Burwell

suprme court“We can’t just close the door on hundreds of thousands of Georgians who finally had it opened for them.” Sometime in the next few weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down its decision in King v. Burwell, the high profile case that could place health coverage at risk for an estimated 430,000 Georgia consumers. Georgians for a Healthy Future has been monitoring the case closely and talked to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the need for Georgia policymakers to step in if the court rules for the plaintiff. This story was featured on today’s front page.

430,000 Georgians could lose Obamacare insurance – AJC


Medicaid Experiment

CindyThere have been several news stories over the past couple of weeks about a Medicaid pilot project under consideration by state policymakers. WSB-TV sat down with Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director last week to talk about whether this policy discussion brings us a step closer to closing the coverage gap in Georgia. Georgia Health News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Georgia Report are all tracking the issue. Click below for media reports featuring GHF and our partners!


How are we doing? Let us know!

feedback 2At Georgians for a Healthy Future we strive to send you emails and content that are valuable to you and your work. To help in our efforts to improve our communications, please take this two question survey! Thank you!

 

 

 


ICYMI: We’re on Pinterest!

PinterestGHF in now on Pinterest!  While you’re skimming pins for what you’re going to cook for dinner tonight or that next DIY project you are definitely going to do, let us be your daily dose of inspiration.  Follow our boards for photos of people in the coverage gap, our Somebody Finally Asked Me campaign, and access to all the great infographics we share.


Peach Pulse, April 2015


Coverage Gap Update

While Georgia has made little progress on closing its coverage gap, the subject is a hot topic elsewhere.

  • Montana has closed its coverage gap! As the 29th state to close the gap, Montana will provide 70,000 Montanans with quality, affordable health care coverage.  The state is currently working with CMS to gain approval for its expansion proposal.
  • Face Off in Florida–The debate over closing the coverage gap is as hot as sunburnt skin after spring break! Floridians have seen a sudden and unexpected adjournment of the legislative session, a stand-off with HHS over the low-income pool (LIP), and their governor file suit against the federal government.  The debate is far from over as the legislature plans to reconvene in June to complete their legislative responsibilities.
  • Policy makers in both Alaska and Louisiana are discussing if and how to close their coverage gaps.  While their legislators debate whether or not to close the coverage gap during a special session, polls show that Alaskans are hugely in favor of the policy.  In Louisiana, Gov. Jindal remains opposed to the idea of closing his state’s coverage gap, but legislators are discussing their options.

While Montana closes its gap and other states think through their options, more and more studies are revealing that closing the coverage gap is good for states! It saves money in state budgets and facilitates job growth, especially in the health care sector.  Families USA summarized the new data in a recent blog post.

Medicaid Expansion 4.15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Need help enrolling or using your insurance?Pranaya Navigating

Pranay Rana, GHF’s health care navigator, is here to help you get covered!  Email Pranay for an appointment or check out his schedule.

Once you have health insurance, Whitney Griggs, our Consumer Education Specialist, can help answer the questions you have about finding a provider, accessing preventive services, filing a complaint or appeal, or any other question you may have!

Whitney and Pranay are both available to make educational presentations to community-based organizations in Georgia about how to enroll in health insurance and how to use coverage to access care once enrolled. If your organization would like to provide this type of presentation for your community members, please let us know! We can help!

 


Tax time special enrollment period a success!

 

taxesThe last chance to sign up for health insurance this year under the Affordable Care Act ended in April, when an extended deadline for enrollment expired.  The extension was offered to give consumers who did not know they would owe a penalty if they did not have health insurance an additional opportunity to secure coverage. Thousands took advantage of the extension and, as of April 13th, about 68,000 people had signed up nationwide under the extension.  Call centers had an average wait time of 10 minutes, showing consistent traffic.  GHF’s navigator personally assisted over 30 people during the special enrollment period!

While the next open enrollment period doesn’t begin until Nov. 1, 2015 you may qualify for a special enrollment period throughout the year.  For example, losing your health coverage because of the loss of a job, getting married, having a baby, or moving to a different state that does not offer your current plan could trigger eligibility for a special enrollment period.

If you have questions about owing a fine or special enrollment periods, please reach out to Whitney Griggs, our Consumer Education Specialist, today!


GHF Upcoming Events

GHF_enrollment_sticker

Getting Georgia Covered: Lessons Learned from Open Enrollment 2

 

Hear from an expert panel on best practices and lessons learned  during the second open enrollment period. We’ll learn about the successful strategies that enrollment assisters deployed in helping consumers, identify the challenges and barriers that remain for consumers, and discuss policy recommendations that can help get more Georgians covered. This is a free event.

Sign Up!

 

 

 


GHF Past Events

Legislative Webinar 4-15 (2)Changes in Health Care and Policy in the 2015 Georgia Legislative Session: Webinar

Watch the Webinar

Download the Presentation

 

 

 


ICYMI: Social Media Trends

ACA Celebrate#betterwithobamacare was trending on Twitter as we celebrated five years of the increased coverage and security that’s come with the Affordable Care Act.

#getcovered and #staycovered were the battle cry of OE2.  Follow those hashtags to stay on top of the enrollment movement!


Peach Pulse, March 2015


Legislative Update

georgia-capital-buildingWith Crossover Day behind us, we are fast approaching the 40th and final legislative day for the year, April 2nd.  This week, GHF spoke with House Insurance Chairman Richard Smith about what he saw as the most important role he played as chairman. You might be surprised with his answer – click the image below to watch the video!

With just a little more than two weeks to go, here’s an update on health care legislation important to Georgia health care consumers.  For a detailed chart of every health care bill we’re watching, click here.

The FY 2016 Budget passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate. The Senate expects to finish their revisions to the budget this week, possibly with some new revenue. They will then send it back to the House and then to a conference committee before it is finalized.

Medicaid Parity:  The Senate proposed $5.9 million in increased reimbursements for certain OB/GYN services and $13.6 million for certain primary care services, which is an increase over the House of Representatives’ proposal ($2.96 million for OB/GYN and $1.5 million for primary care services). Because Medicaid parity has been shown to be an effective strategy for improving access to care for consumers, GHF supports raising Medicaid reimbursement rates to parity with Medicare rates. We are advocating for a higher appropriation amount for Medicaid reimbursement rate increases as the budget moves through the process.  Click here to read Georgia Health News’s coverage of this latest development.

SBIRT Resolution:  Senate HHS Chairwoman Renee Unterman officially introduced SR 487 to form a Senate Study Committee on preventing youth substance use disorders. Through GHF’s work with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, we are advocating for a public health approach to substance use disorders that focuses on prevention. This resolution gets the conversation started about how to do that in Georgia. Please take the time to thank Senator Unterman for her support of this effort and to let your elected officials know you support SR 487.

SB 158: (Sen. Burke) provides certain consumer and provider protections regarding health insurance, including network adequacy language. SB 158 has been referred to the Senate Insurance Committee where it received a hearing on Wednesday, March 3.  GHF provided testimony in committee, focusing specifically on the network adequacy component of the bill. GHF also met with committee members individually about the bill after the committee hearing to talk about why it is an important issue for consumers.  While the bill is not expected to move in its current form this legislative session, there will likely be a study committee on the network adequacy component. GHF has identified network adequacy as an important consumer issue and plans to remain engaged on this topic as discussions move forward.

Closing the Coverage Gap: No hearings have been scheduled or are pending to address the possibility of expanding Medicaid in Georgia. Closing Georgia’s coverage gap by expanding Medicaid would open a pathway to health insurance for approximately 300,000 uninsured Georgians, an approach which GHF supports.  Two bills have been introduced to address Georgia’s coverage gap (HR 226 and SB 38), although neither crossed over. Please thank the cosponsors of these bills, Rep. Rahn Mayo and Senator Vincent Fort, for their support and show your support by filling out a postcard that we’ll mail to your legislators!

Tobacco Tax:  No additional standalone proposals have been made to increase Georgia’s tobacco tax (other than HB 445 as previously reported).  The Senate however, may respond to the House proposal on transportation funding by including a tobacco tax increase to the regional average of around 68 cents. Importantly, Alabama’s Governor is proposing an increase in their state tobacco tax to $1.25 per pack, which would increase the regional average.  GHF continues to advocate for an increase to the national average by raising our tobacco tax by $1.23.  Such an increase would generate $585 million per year according to the fiscal note generated by the non-partisan fiscal office at GSU.  Check out our fact sheet for more info!


Medicaid Minute

Opponents often argue that closing Georgia’s coverage gap would be too expensive for our state, but data from states that expanded their Medicaid programs in 2014 contradict that claim.  According to a new study, closing the coverage gap produced big savings and increased revenues for states.

Early data from Kentucky and Arkansas show state budget savings that will offset the costs of covering the newly eligible Medicaid population beyond state fiscal year (SFY) 2021. Kentucky expects to see $820 million in net savings over the next seven years, while Arkansas expects to see $370 million over the same time period.  The savings and increased revenues fall into three major categories: 1) State savings from using new federal funds; 2) State savings from enhanced federal matching; 3) Revenue gains from provider and insurer taxes/fees.

The full issue brief, complete with a summary table of Medicaid-related savings and revenues in both states, can be found here.


GHF Welcomes New Navigator!

PranayPranaya Rana joined Georgians for a Healthy Future this week as our new Navigator! In this role, Pranaya will work with consumers to help them enroll in health insurance through the Marketplace.  Pranaya is a former Lieutenant from the Nepalese Army Elite Forces. He has served as a U.N. Peacekeeper in post-earthquake Haiti and as a Refugee Resettlement Program Officer in Connecticut before he came to Kennesaw State University, Georgia to pursue his Ph.D. in International Conflict Management in 2012.   He has been working as a certified Healthcare Navigator in Metro Atlanta since the first open enrollment began in 2013. He recently completed his 6 months long Navigator’s term at Georgia Watch before joining Georgians For a Healthy Future.  He specializes in refugees and international communities and has served a wide variety of international communities enroll into affordable healthcare using a community specific service model developed through continued outreach, education and  needs assessment. He is Fluent in Nepali and Hindi besides English, and, speaks Urdu and intermediate French. If you’d like to contact Pranaya by email or at 404-567-5016.


Using your Coverage: Tax-Time Special Enrollment Period

taxesDid you go without health insurance in 2014 and are now subject to a tax penalty? Good news! – You may still be able to enroll in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Starting last Saturday, March 15th, some people who are facing a fine on their taxes for not having coverage can now enroll in the Marketplace through a time-limited special enrollment period. To be eligible for this special enrollment period, you must not be currently enrolled in health insurance, attest that you owe the penalty for 2014, and attest that you first became aware of the penalty when you filed your 2014 taxes. This tax-related special enrollment period will run through April 30th, 2015.  Click here to learn more about who can qualify for this special enrollment period.


Health Advocates Day at the Capitol – 3/25

informationPlease join us on Wednesday, March 25, from 8:45 am to mid-day for a morning of advocacy!  GHF will provide individuals and organizations with the opportunity to advocate for the important health issues that matter to you in the closing days of this legislative session.  You may want to advocate for closing the coverage gap, Medicaid payment parity, raising the tobacco tax, rural health care access, or another health policy issue.  You’re all invited to participate!  We’ll provide breakfast, an advocacy training, and an opportunity to share and network with other health advocates.

To sign up, click here.  If you have any questions, please contact Laura Colbert.


Post-Legislative Session Webinar

Mark your calendars!  Please join GHF and Laura Colbert for a post-legislative session webinar. The webinar is free and will provide a review of bills, resolutions, and other actions taken by the Georgia General Assembly that will affect health care and health policy in our state.

Date:Thursday, April 9

Time:12:00 – 1:00 EST

Sign up here!


 

Infographic of the Week

MEDICAID_EXPANSION_Working-Adults_infographic_final_021615

 


Peach Pulse, March 12, 2015

Legislative Update

georgia-capital-buildingToday is the 29th day of the 2015 Legislative Session.  That means that tomorrow, Friday March 13, is crossover day.  GHF Executive Director Cindy Zeldin on what crossover day is and what it means for the rest of the legislative session.

The day before crossover day is a day of uncertainties.  Because of that, we will send out an email Monday with a full update and analysis on where legislation important to consumers’ health care stands.  For a compete list tracking health related bills – click here.


More Good News about Georgia’s Open Enrollment Numbers!

Last month it was announced that over half a million Georgians enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Now a new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services contains even more encouraging data about the state of enrollment in Georgia. According to the report, 31% of Georgians that enrolled were between the ages of 18-34, which is a key age group since they tend to be healthier than older adults. Additionally, 90% of Georgians that selected a plan through the Marketplace received financial assistance in the form of Advanced Premium Tax Credits. The average monthly premium for Georgians using a tax credit was $73. Click here to see the full report.  Georgians for a Healthy Future’s ED talked with the Augusta Chronicle about why these numbers are so encouraging for Georgia.


Using your coverage

Preventive Services

coverageDid you know that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you can receive certain preventive services at absolutely no cost? It’s true! One of the key requirements of the ACA is that insurance companies must cover recommended preventive services at no cost to the consumer – even if you haven’t met your deductible. These include services such as mammograms, annual physicals, colonoscopies, well-woman exams, cholesterol screenings, tobacco cessation, and many more. Click here for a full list of the preventive services that must be covered by all insurance companies. There is also an additional list of required services for women and a separate one for children. It’s important to take advantage of these no-cost preventive services to keep you and your family healthy. Evidence shows that preventive services can save lives and improve health by identifying illnesses earlier, managing them more effectively, and treating them before they become complicated and debilitating conditions.

If you have any questions about your insurance, please contact our Consumer Education Specialist, Whitney Griggs by email or at 404-567-5016 x 5


Medicaid Minute

current-status-of-the-medicaid-expansion-decisions-healthreform

States across the country are closing their coverage gaps!  The map above shows the 29 states (including DC) that have chosen to expand Medicaid.  Seven additional states are in discussions – below is a quick update on those states and their debates.

Idaho: Governor Butch Otter’s Medicaid Redesign Workgroup voted in November 2014 to recommend pursuing total health care system transformation, which includes Medicaid expansion. In addition to the Governor’s support, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry is helping to draft Medicaid expansion legislation, and a coalition of hospitals, providers, and consumer groups is working to support that legislation.

Tennessee: In late 2014, Governor Bill Haslam announced he had reached a deal with CMS to close the coverage gap. Governor Haslam’s plan, Insure Tennessee, had the support of the hospital industry (who had agreed to fund any costs that would fall onto the state), the business community, and a strong consumer coalition. Unfortunately, Insure Tennessee failed to make it out of committee during special session in early 2015.

Utah: Governor Gary Herbert’s plan to close the coverage gap, Healthy Utah, has strong support from hospitals, businesses, county commissioners, the criminal justice community, and church leaders, and it recently passed in the Senate. However, the House has passed an alternative proposal, Utah Cares, that would provide much more limited coverage to only a portion of the population in the coverage gap. With just a few days left in the legislative session, it remains to be seen whether the legislature will reach a compromise that will close the coverage gap this year.

Maine: In 2013 and again in 2014, the Democratic-controlled legislature passed several bills to close the coverage gap, only to have them vetoed by Governor Paul LePage. Even though Republicans took control of the Senate in 2014, advocates believe there are still enough votes to pass compromise legislation. Hospitals, who had remained largely on the sidelines the past two years, are now fully engaged in the campaign to close the coverage gap there.

Alaska: Recently-elected Independent Governor Bill Walker announced plans to expand Medicaid, but there will likely be roadblocks in the Republican-dominated legislature. Hospitals are on board.

Montana: Governor Steve Bullock is strongly supportive of closing the coverage gap, and has his own proposal for doing so. It is unlikely that a bill will pass the Republican-controlled legislature.

Wyoming: Governor Matt Mead developed a plan to close the coverage gap in 2015, and a key House committee developed a competing plan. But just a few days after the special session to close the gap in Tennessee failed, the Wyoming Senate shot down Governor Mead’s expansion plan, and the House committee then pulled its bill.


Join us for Health Advocates Day at the Capitol!

informationPlease join us on Wednesday, March 25, from 8:45 am to mid-day for a morning of advocacy!  GHF will provide individuals and organizations with the opportunity to advocate for the important health issues that matter to you in the closing days of this legislative session.  You may want to advocate for closing the coverage gap, Medicaid payment parity, raising the tobacco tax, the Family Care Act, rural health care access, or another health policy issue.  You’re all invited to participate!  We’ll provide breakfast, an advocacy training, and an opportunity to share and network with other health advocates.

To sign up, click here.  If you have any questions, please contact Laura Colbert.


Sign Up for a Post-Legislative Session Webinar

Mark your calendars!  Please join GHF and Laura Colbert for a post-legislative session webinar. The webinar is free and will provide a review of bills, resolutions, and other actions taken by the Georgia General Assembly that will affect health care and health policy in our state.

Date: Thursday, April 9

Time: 12:00 – 1:00 EST

Sign up here!


Infographic of the Week

affordable-care-act-infographic GEORGIA WATCH


Peach Pulse, March 6, 2015


Legislative Update

georgia-capital-buildingYesterday marked the 27th day of the 2015 Legislative Session. Crossover Day, the 30th legislative day and the deadline for a bill to pass its chamber of origin to remain viable for 2015, is set for next Friday, March 13th. Sine Die, the 40th and final legislative day for the year, will be April 2nd.

It has been a big week for health care issues at the State Capitol. GHF brought the consumer perspective to Senate Insurance on Wednesday and shared with the committee through testimony from our Executive Director the challenges that consumers face in obtaining accurate information about provider networks at the time they sign up for health insurance and why setting network adequacy standards is important for consumers. Her testimony was provided as part of the discussion around SB 158. Also this week, legislation was introduced in the Senate that would establish a study committee on preventing youth substance use disorders, the Senate began its work on the FY 2016 budget, and a range of other health care bills were discussed.

The State Budget:  The FY 2016 Budget passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate. The Senate expects to finish their revisions to the budget this week and send it back to the House and then to a conference committee.

Medicaid Parity:  Last week, the House of Representatives added $2.96 million in the budget to increase reimbursement for certain OB/GYN services and $1.5 million for reimbursement rate increases for certain primary care services. Because Medicaid parity has been shown to be an effective strategy for improving access to care, GHF supports raising Medicaid reimbursement rates to parity with Medicare rates. We are advocating for a higher appropriation amount for Medicaid reimbursement rate increases as the budget moves through the process.

SBIRT Resolution:  Senate HHS Chairwoman Renee Unterman officially introduced a resolution (SR 407) to form a joint House and Senate Study Committee on preventing youth substance use disorders. Through GHF’s work with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, we are advocating for a public health approach to substance use disorders that focuses on prevention. This resolution gets the conversation started about how to do that in Georgia. Please take the time to thank Senator Unterman for her support of this effort and to let your elected officials know you support SR 407.

SB 158 (Sen. Burke) provides certain consumer and provider protections regarding health insurance, including network adequacy language. SB 158 has been referred to the Senate Insurance Committee where it received a hearing on Wednesday, March 3.  GHF Executive Director Cindy Zeldin testified in committee, focusing specifically on the network adequacy component of the bill. GHF also met with committee members individually about the bill after the committee hearing.  While the bill is not expected to move in its current form this legislative session, there will likely be a study committee on the network adequacy component. GHF has identified network adequacy as an important consumer issue and plans to remain engaged on this topic as discussions move forward.

Closing the Coverage Gap: No hearings have been scheduled or are pending to address the possibility of expanding Medicaid in Georgia. Closing Georgia’s coverage gap by expanding Medicaid would open a pathway to health insurance for approximately 300,000 uninsured Georgians, an approach which GHF supports.  Two bills have been introduced to address Georgia’s coverage gap (HR 226 and SB 38), although neither is expected to receive a hearing. Please thank the cosponsors of these bills, Rep. Rahn Mayo and Senator Vincent Fort, for their support and show your support by filling out a postcard that we’ll mail to your legislators!

Tobacco Tax:  No additional standalone proposals have been made to increase Georgia’s tobacco tax (other than HB 445 as previously reported).  The Senate however, may respond to the House proposal on transportation funding by including a tobacco tax increase to the regional average of around 68 cents. Importantly, Alabama’s Governor is proposing an increase in their state tobacco tax to $1.25 per pack, which would increase the regional average.  GHF continues to advocate for an increase to the national average by raising our tobacco tax by $1.23.  Such an increase would generate $585 million per year according to the fiscal note generated by the non-partisan fiscal office at GSU.


Other Bills of Interest

Below is a summary of bills that may impact health care consumers in Georgia, with information about where they are in the legislative process.

SB 1 (Sen. Bethel) provides certain insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders. SB 1 has passed the Senate and is in the House Insurance Committee.

HB 1 (Rep. Peake) would allow for the limited use of medical marijuana for conditions including cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, fibromyalgia, parkinson’s disease, and sickle cell disease.  HB 1 passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.


Peach Pulse, February 27, 2015


Legislative Update

georgia-capital-building

Yesterday marked the 23rd day of the 2015 Legislative Session. We are getting closer to Crossover Day, the 30th legislative day and the deadline for a bill to pass its chamber of origin to remain viable for 2015. Crossover Day is set for March 13th. Sine Die, the 40th and final legislative day for the year, will be April 2nd.

As part of this week’s legislative update, we sat down with Representative Debbie Buckner and spoke with her about access to care in rural communities, Georgia’s coverage gap, and other health care issues on her mind this Legislative Session.

To watch the video, click on the image below.

The State Budget

The FY 2016 Budget passed the House of Representatives this week and now heads to the Senate for hearings. Of note, the House of Representatives added $2.96 million in the budget to increase reimbursement for certain OB/GYN services, $1.5 million for reimbursement rate increases for certain primary care services, $1.3 million to increase the hourly rate for personal support services under the Independent Care Waiver Program, and $500,000 to increase reimbursement for air-ambulance services for adult patients. The House also added in $3 million to implement the recommendations of the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee. The House removed $22.8 million for new treatment medications for patients with Hepatitis C and $12.1 million for costs to launch a new case management program for enrollees eligible under the Aged, Blind, & Disabled program. Also of note, the House reinstated health coverage for non-certificated part-time school employees; however, local school districts and not the state would be responsible for those costs. Click here for an analysis of the health care provisions in the budget that passed the House from our friends at the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute.

Closing the Coverage Gap

Closing Georgia’s coverage gap by expanding Medicaid would open a pathway to health insurance for approximately 300,000 uninsured Georgians. Two bills have been introduced to address Georgia’s coverage gap (HR 226 and SB 38), although neither is expected to receive a hearing. Please thank the cosponsors of these bills, Rep. Rahn Mayo and Sen. Vincent Fort, and show your support for closing the coverage gap by filling out a postcard that we’ll mail to your legislators!

Tobacco Tax

HB 445 (Carson) represents the first additional or alternative funding proposal to the transportation funding bill (HB 170). While the overall bill includes regressive provisions including an increased sales and grocery tax combined with a reduction in the income tax that GHF does not support, it is notable that a tobacco tax is in the mix in the bill. This keeps the tobacco tax on the radar and provides an opportunity for health advocates to continue to push for an increase to the national average in the tobacco tax to curb smoking rates and bring in much-needed revenue.

Other Bills of Interest

Below is a summary of bills that may impact health care consumers in Georgia, with information about where they are in the legislative process.

SB 1 (Sen. Bethel) provides certain insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders. SB 1 has passed the Senate and is the House Insurance Committee.

SB 158 (Sen. Burke) provides certain consumer and provider protections regarding health insurance, including network adequacy language. SB 158 has been referred to the Senate Insurance Committee.

HB 1 (Rep. Peake) would allow for the limited use of medical marijuana for conditions including: cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, fibromyalgia, parkinson’s disease, and sickle cell disease.  HB 1 passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 195 (Rep. Cooper) and SB 51 (Burke) provides parameters for substitutions of interchangeable biological products. HB 195 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and is expected to come out of the Rules Committee next week, and Senate Bill 51 has passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House HHS committee, but is not expected to get a hearing until after crossover day.

HB 482 (Rep. Willard) seeks to eliminate two of the requirements that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America are currently subject to when they were allowed into Georgia as a destination hospital.

HB 416 (Rep. Rogers): Routinely referred to as the badge bill, HB 416 seeks to provide clarity and transparency for the patient as to the qualifications of the provider that they are seeing.  The bill calls for providers to identify the health care practitioner’s name and the type of license or educational degree the health care practitioner holds. The bill will be heard in the House HHS committee on Monday March 2, 2015 at 3 PM.

HB 34 (Rep. Dudgeon) is known as the “Right to Try” bill and calls for patients with advanced illnesses and in consultation with their doctor to use potentially life-saving investigational drugs, biological products, and devices.


Georgia’s Plan to Strengthen Rural Hospitals

Earlier this week, the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee (RHSC), created by Governor Deal to address the needs of struggling rural hospitals and find solutions that address those needs, issued its final report. The recommendations in the report include:

  • A four site “Hub & Spoke” pilot program
  • Maintenance and protection of Certificate of Need laws
  • Expanded scope of practice for non-physician providers, like physicians assistants and nurse practitioners
  • More support for school-based health centers

The committee’s work shines a spotlight on the health care access challenges that rural Georgians face and puts forth constructive recommendations.  While we support these recommendations whole-heartedly, we are also disappointed that the committee did not address the coverage gap and Medicaid expansion in its report.

Georgia Health News interviewed Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director on this issue (click here to read the full article), and in that article she pointed to the early success of states like Kentucky, which recently reported improvements and coverage rates and in health care access due to Medicaid expansion. She also encouraged policymakers to take a comprehensive approach that includes closing Georgia’s coverage gap to help get people into health insurance and provide a reimbursement stream for rural hospitals.

Back in December, Georgians for a Healthy Future, together with several consumer and community-focused organizations including the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Georgia Watch, and Families First, submitted a report and provided public comment to the committee making a detailed case for such an approach. You can read that full report here.


Medicaid Minute

Medicaid provides health insurance to low-income families and vulnerable populations in states across the country, allowing them to access necessary health care services. In states that have opted to implement the Medicaid expansion, people are enrolling in the program and uninsured rates are plummeting. Nationwide, 10.8 million Americans gained coverage through Medicaid just between October and December 2014. Unfortunately, these coverage gains vary widely among states. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, states that expanded Medicaid saw a 27 percent increase in Medicaid and CHIP enrollment in the last year, while non-expansion states saw only a 7 percent increase. Too many Georgians are still stuck in the coverage gap.  Fill out an e-postcard that we’ll send to your legislators letting them know that it’s time Georgia fixed this problem and closed its coverage gap.


What is a 1095-A?
And other burning questions about health insurance and tax filing?

flowchart

If you are a consumer who enrolled in health insurance through the Marketplace with a tax credit, you likely received a 1095-A form in the mail. You may also have some questions about how to complete the health insurance information on your tax filing form. If your organization works directly with consumers, either providing enrollment assistance or helping them with tax preparation, you may also be hearing about the 1095-A and may have some questions about how health insurance and tax filings intersect. Below is a primer, replete with flow chart, which breaks it all down for you.

Where consumers get their coverage—Marketplace, employer, Medicaid—will determine the impact coverage has on their taxes.  Consumers who have health insurance through their jobs will likely see no changes when they file their taxes – they just check the box on their tax forms indicating they had coverage throughout the year.  The same thing applies to consumers who are covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or their parent’s health plan.  Pretty simple!

During this year’s open enrollment period, 536,929 Georgians purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov and about 90% received financial assistance to help lower the cost of their premiums.  To keep that tax credit, they’ll have to fill out Form 8962, which asks questions about their health insurance and their income. To help complete that form, all consumers that received a tax credit should have received Form 1095-A in the mail from the Marketplace. Consumers can also find this form on their Healthcare.gov account.

The health insurance tax credit is based on income and household size. When consumers applied for coverage, they estimated their income for the coming year and that amount was used to determine their tax credit. If a consumer misestimated their income, the credit they received may be too high or too low. During the tax filing process, the difference between estimated and actual income is reconciled, and the corresponding tax credit may be adjusted up or down.  This means some consumers may get a refund and some consumers may have to pay back part of their tax credit. If a consumer did not apply for a tax credit previously, they can apply for a credit to be included in their tax refund.

If a consumer went without health care coverage at any point in the year, they may need to fill out an additional Form 8965 to determine whether or not they will need to pay a fine. This year the maximum fee per family will be $285, but fines will increase each year, up to 2% of a person’s annual income.  If a person falls into Georgia’s coverage gap, they will not have to pay the fine, but will need to file the appropriate documents to prove they do not have access to affordable coverage

Household, family, and income changes should be reported throughout the year to Healthcare.gov in order to avoid surprises at tax time.

If you have questions about how your health coverage may affect your taxes, consult a tax professional.  Our partners at Georgia Watch can connect you with free tax preparation help—just click here.


So You Have Coverage…Now What?

If you have recently gained health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, it may seem like you need to learn a whole new language to understand your coverage. Health insurance can be confusing, especially if you have never had it before or haven’t had it in a while. Just understanding a few key terms, such as premium, deductible and co-pay, will go a long way in helping you use your health insurance effectively. Click here for a simple guide to help you understand your new coverage. Additionally, if you are having trouble using your health insurance you can contact Whitney Griggs, GHF’s Consumer Education Specialist, at wgriggs@healthyfuturega.org or at (404) 567-5016, extension 5.


Action Alert: CHIP in Danger

Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as PeachCare for Kids in Georgia, expires in September 2015.  More than 200,000 Georgia kids rely on this program for access to health care services.  The U.S. Congress has signaled that it is willing to consider extending CHIP funding. This is great news. However, some of the discussion include provisions that provide access barriers.  Some concerning provisions include the removal of protections that were included in the ACA, an optional 12-month waiting period for coverage, and cuts to CHIP funding for certain groups of children in some states. (Click here for a full analysis of the draft plan.)  You can help by telling your legislators to pass a clean renewal of CHIP funding that does not impose barriers to enrollment and coverage for kids.  Here are some ways to get in touch:

  • Write a letter or call your congressman. Click here to see suggested language from our partners, Voices for Georgia’s Children.  Click here to find your congressman, senator and their contact information.
  • Tweet at your representatives in congress. See the list below for their Twitter handles.  Use the hashtags #ExtendCHIP #keepkidscovered and #CHIPWorks
  • Share this image from Voices for Georgia’s Children (@georgiavoices) on social media to spread the word.

CHIP_monkey

Senate

Johnny Isakson

@SenatorIsakson 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

David Perdue

@sendavidperdue 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

House

Buddy Carter (1st District)

@RepBuddyCarter 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Sanford Bishop Jr. (2nd District)

@SanfordBishop 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Lynn Westmoreland (3rd District)

@RepWestmoreland 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Hank Johnson Jr. (4th District)

@RepHankJohnson 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

John Lewis (5th District)

@repjohnlewis 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Tom Price (6th District)

@RepTomPrice 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Rob Woodall (7th District)

@RepRobWoodall 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Austin Scott (8th District)

@AustinScottGA08 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Doug Collins (9th ,District)

@RepDougCollins 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Barry Loudermilk (11th District)

@RepLoudermilk 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Rick Allen (12th District)

@RepRickAllen 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

David Scott (13th District)

@repdavidscott 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)

Tom Graves (14th District)

@RepTomGraves 200,000 GA kids rely on PeachCare to receive the critical care they need. #ExtendCHIP so we can #keepkidscovered #CHIPWorks (Click here to tweet this)


Peach Pulse, February 20, 2015


Legislative Update

georgia-capital-buildingToday marked the 19th day of the 2015 Legislative Session (almost at the halfway point)! Crossover Day, the 30th legislative day and the deadline for a bill to pass its chamber of origin to remain viable for 2015, is set for March 13th. Sine Die, the 40th and final legislative day for the year, will be April 2nd.

As part of this week’s legislative update, we caught up with Senator Chuck Hufstetler and spoke with him about his proposal to increase the state’s tobacco tax by $1.23, which would bring Georgia up to the national average.  According to a fiscal note released this week by Georgia State University at legislative request, this increase would yield more than $500 million in new revenue. To read more about the tobacco tax, download our one pager.  To see the media coverage, check out our “In the News” page.


Other issues we’re watching include:

The State Budget

Our friends over at the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute have put together an analysis of the health care spending within the proposed 2016 state budget. Click here to read GBPI’s health care budget overview.

 

Medicaid Payment Parity

cindy on medicaid parityThis week, the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the FY 2016 Budget. A range of organizations and individuals provided testimony in support of payment parity, citing the evidence that shows provider rate increases result in better access to care for patients and consumers. Georgians for a Healthy Future spoke in support of payment parity at the hearing.

 

Closing the Coverage Gap

Closing Georgia’s coverage gap by expanding Medicaid would open a pathway to health insurance for approximately 300,000 uninsured Georgians. Two bills have been introduced to address Georgia’s coverage gap (HR 226 and SB 38), although neither is expected to receive a hearing. Please thank the cosponsors of these bills for their support and show your support by filling out a postcard that we’ll mail to your legislators!


More than half a million Georgians enroll in Marketplace health insurance

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace ended Sunday and over half a million Georgians enrolled in plans through the Marketplace! Georgia’s enrollment was the fourth highest of states using the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, trailing only behind Texas, Florida, and North Carolina. The state’s enrollment numbers passed the 500,000 mark in large part due to a last minute surge in sign-ups. This year’s enrollment numbers greatly exceed last year’s exchange enrollments of 316,543. Nationally, 11.4 million Americans selected plans or were automatically re-enrolled through the Marketplace. Click here to learn more about Georgia’s enrollment numbers.

For Georgians who begun the enrollment process prior to the deadline but, due to issues with either healthcare.gov or call centers, were unable to complete their enrollment, CMS has extended a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).  These people are “in line” and still eligible to enroll this year.  This SEP will end February 22nd.  If you or someone you know thinks they qualify for this extended enrollment period visit HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.


Miss open enrollment? You may still be able to get coverage!
Open Enrollment has officially ended but some Georgians that missed signing up during the three month period may be able to still get coverage. Those “in line” during this last three days of Open Enrollment who were unable to select a plan due to long call center wait times or technical issues have until Sunday, February 22 to enroll. In this circumstance, coverage will begin March 1st.  Otherwise, consumers who have a “qualifying event” may be able to get coverage through a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment Periods can occur at any time during the year and are usually triggered by specific events. These events include life changes such as a marriage, birth, change in eligible immigration status and a permanent move. Another type of event that could qualify consumers is a loss of other health coverage. These types of events could include an involuntary loss of employer coverage, loss of Medicaid coverage, and a death or divorce that results in a loss of coverage. In most cases, the Special Enrollment Period lasts for 60 days after the qualifying event occurs. To learn more about what types of events could trigger a Special Enrollment period, click here. If you think you may qualify, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage or https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/ to find in-person assistance in your area.

Additionally, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services just announced a Special Enrollment Period for tax season for consumers who were penalized for not having coverage in 2014 and are not currently enrolled in health insurance. To qualify for this Special Enrollment Period consumers must also attest that they were not aware of the penalty for not having health insurance until after the end of Open Enrollment (February 15th , 2015) because they filed their 2014 tax return after that date. This Special Enrollment Period will begin March 15th and end April 30th, 2015. Click here to learn more about the announcement.


 GHF welcomes new Consumer Education Specialist

WhitneyWhitney joined Georgians for a Healthy Future this week as our Consumer Education Specialist. In this role, Whitney will educate consumers who have questions about how to understand and use their health insurance as well as assist consumers who encounter problems with their insurance plan. Whitney will also be on the lookout for patterns that can help inform GHF’s policy and advocacy work in the area of private health insurance. Whitney comes to GHF from the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, where she was lead health navigator. As a health insurance navigator, Whitney provided enrollment assistance for the Health Insurance Marketplace to consumers in rural Georgia. In this role she also conducted extensive outreach throughout the state to inform consumers about the Affordable Care Act and the new health insurance options available under the law. Prior to her role as a navigator, Whitney worked for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies as an Information and Resource Specialist for their health care referral service, called the Powerline. In this position she helped find and verify health care providers throughout the state for the referral line. Whitney has also worked in the Child Life Division at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Whitney earned her B.S. in Psychology with a focus on Biological Psychology from Clemson University. Whitney can be reached at wgriggs@healthyfuturega.org.  Please welcome her to Georgians for a Healthy Future!


National partner features our collaboration with the Diverse Elders Coalition and the Bhutanese Association of Georgia

351Check out Community Catalyst’s blog featuring the collaboration between GHF, the Diverse Elders Coalition, and BAG to help Bhutanese refugees living in Clarkston, Georgia enroll in health insurance!


Medicaid Minute

Kentucky_beforeKentucy_After

New data released from Kentucky show the success of Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion program.  Here are a few quick highlights.

  • 375,000 Kentuckians got covered
  • Hospitals gained more than $500 million in just the first year
  • 12,000 new jobs were created (with an additional 28,000 jobs expected over the next 7 years)
  • Uncompensated care in hospitals fell 60%
  • Estimated costs of expansion in current and subsequent biennial budget are more than offset by savings and new revenues generated from economic activity resulting from new health care spending
  • Choosing not to expand would have cost the state about $100 million

Fill out our survey and tell your legislators know it’s time for Georgia to close its coverage gap!


 

Infographic of the Week

MCD_Georgia-Medicaid-gap-and-employment_infographic


Peach Pulse, February 12, 2015


Legislative Update

georgia-capital-buildingToday marked the fifteenth day of the 2015 Legislative Session—we’re more than one-third of the way through already! Crossover Day, the 30th legislative day and the deadline for a bill to pass its chamber of origin to remain viable for 2015, is set for March 13th. Sine Die, the 40th and final legislative day for the year, will be April 2nd.

Georgians for a Healthy Future is monitoring and advocating on bills of importance to health care consumers in Georgia. As part of this week’s legislative update, we spoke with Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Charlie Bethel about the legislation moving through his committee and about his priorities with respect to health care policy in Georgia. This conversation also includes a discussion of Senate Bill 1, which would provide for certain insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders.

Other issues we’re watching include:

The State Budget

Our friends over at the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute have put together an analysis of the health care spending within the proposed 2016 state budget. Click here to read GBPI’s health care budget overview. 

Medicaid Payment Parity

Last week, Sen. Unterman talked to us about her request for $60 million to restore Medicaid payment parity.  Sen. Unterman and advocates continue to work with the health appropriations chairmen in both chambers, but no decisions have been made to date.

Closing the Coverage Gap

Closing Georgia’s coverage gap by expanding Medicaid would open a pathway to health insurance for approximately 300,000 uninsured Georgians. Two bills have been introduced to address Georgia’s coverage gap (HR 226 and SB 38), although neither is expected to receive a hearing. Please thank the cosponsors of these bills for their support and show your support by filling out a postcard that we’ll mail to your legislators!

Tobacco Tax

Georgians for a Healthy Future and our coalition partners continue to support a $1.23/pack increase in Georgia’s tobacco tax to bring us in line with the national average, decrease smoking rates, and bring in needed revenue for health care investments in our state. Click here for our new fact sheet on why Georgia should increase the tobacco tax. While no legislation has been introduced this session to increase the tobacco tax, we expect it may enter the mix as legislators discuss transportation funding.

We will continue to monitor this issue and will let you know when advocacy opportunities arise.


Time is running out – get covered today!

Open enrollment is quickly coming to a close, ending this Sunday, February  15th.  If you haven’t gotten covered yet or you know someone who doesn’t have coverage, don’t wait!  Act now before Sunday’s deadline.  Click here to find a Navigator near you or visit healthcare.gov to sign up.  These Georgians got covered and you can too!

Got Covered - CorneliaCornelia, a recent college graduate, had coverage on her parents’ plan…until she turned 26 and became ineligible.  She really wanted to stay with the same insurer, but also needed an affordable plan.  She applied and found that she qualified for a plan with the same carrier with even better coverage for less money. After her subsidy, Cornelia’s plan cost her only $83 per month.

Got Covered - ScottScott Quimby found an enrollment event near his home by visiting getcoveredamerica.org. He and his wife were able to enroll in a plan, which is a big deal because his wife had a pre-existing condition.  She had suffered brain trauma previously and expressed how grateful she was that she could get covered at an affordable price because of the Affordable Care Act: “I know I made the best decision because I came and got help.”

Got Covered - Mechul2Mechul had gone uninsured previously—for six years—going to the ER when he was seriously ill. He lost coverage when he turned 18, having been enrolled in Medicaid until then as a foster child under his grandmother’s care. He was told when he was younger he was pre-diabetic and felt anxious not have a way of getting regular care.  In March, he went to healthcare.gov to try to enroll but then decided to a navigator to get more information, and finally completed enrollment himself at home. He found a no cost silver-level plan, which was great because cost was the most important factor for him.  Now Mechul is employed and will get coverage through his employer, but he said it was a relief and gave him peace of mind to have health insurance there when he needed it.

If you or someone you know has an enrollment success story they’d like to share, let us know!  With your help, others can get covered and stay covered.


King v. Burwell — What’s at stake for Georgia?

King Burwell Potential Result

On March 4th, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a lawsuit challenging the tax credits that consumers utilizing the federal Health Insurance Marketplace receive to help make health insurance affordable. Consumers in thirty-four states, including Georgia, use the federal Marketplace to find and enroll in coverage. Nearly nine out of 10 people who enrolled in coverage through healthcare.gov received financial help and paid 75 percent less than the full monthly premium. This has helped bring the nation’s uninsured rate to an historic low.

A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute found that the majority of health care consumers who would be impacted and who would likely become uninsured if the tax credits were struck down live in the South. Here in Georgia, hundreds of thousands of people are at risk for becoming uninsured.

We believe there is no legal basis for this challenge and that in June, when a decision comes down, we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief. If the court does, however, strike down the tax credits, such a decision would disproportionately impact the South and would put states like Georgia at a competitive disadvantage by exacerbating existing regional health disparities. If this comes to pass, Georgians for a Healthy Future will advocate for a contingency plan to ensure that Georgians have the same access to tax credits that their counterparts in states like New York, California, Colorado, and Kentucky (states that set up their own health insurance exchanges) have.

Our friends at Families USA have put together a resource page for advocates interested in learning more about King v. Burwell. Click here to find out everything you need to know about the case!


Medicaid Minute

This week, we learned that the Tennessee legislature failed to pass the Insure TN plan.  This is a big disappointment for the 300,000 Tennesseans who fall into the coverage gap and who could have had access to health insurance if the Tennessee plan moved forward. This outcome shows how important it is to garner support from elected officials on both sides of the aisle. There are lessons we can learn for our work here in Georgia. Thank you to all of the Georgia advocates who continue to reach out to your legislators across the state to let them know you support closing Georgia’s coverage gap.  If you’d like to get involved and join the Cover Georgia coalition, email Laura Colbert.


Infographic of the Week

deadline-fine


Peach Pulse, February 5, 2015


Legislative Update

With this week’s legislative update, we bring the Gold Dome to you! Our biggest update this week is that Senator Renee Unterman is making a $60 million appropriations ask in the state budget to maintain Medicaid payment parity. Medicaid payment parity is an effective strategy to increase access to health care services for low-income children and families enrolled in Medicaid (click here to learn more about what payment parity is and why it matters for health care access). Your GHF team was at the Capitol this week to talk with Senator Unterman about her proposal.

Renee_Unterman_Screenshot

Also this week, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health held a hearing that included discussion about Medicaid payment parity. No decisions were made at the hearing but we expect the topic will come up again. What can advocates do?  Contact one or more of these legislators!

  1. Call or email Senator Unterman and thank her for leading the charge on this important initiative!
  2. Call or send an email to Senator Burke, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health, and Representative Butch Parrish, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health, and thank them for their support on Medicaid payment parity.
  3. Contact Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill and House Appropriations Chair Terry England and let them know you support Medicaid payment parity.

Other issues we’re watching.

Medicaid Expansion

There has been no action to date on closing the coverage gap by expanding Medicaid. Please contact your legislators and the leaders of the Health and Human Services and Appropriations Committees to ask them to hold hearings on this important issue.

Click here to let your state senator and representative know that you support closing Georgia’s coverage gap.

Tobacco Tax

Georgians for a Healthy Future and our coalition partners continue to support a $1.23/pack increase in Georgia’s tobacco tax to bring us in line with the national average, decrease smoking rates, and bring in needed revenue for health care investments in our state. All eyes in the House and Senate have been on the transportation funding proposal unveiled last week on the House side, which did not include an increase in the tobacco tax. However, the Senate is expected to take a more diversified approach in this area and the possibility of a tobacco tax increase may be on the table. We will continue to monitor this issue and will let you know when advocacy opportunities arise.

Other Health-Related Bills

Senate Bill 1, which would require insurance companies to provide limited autism benefits for Georgians enrolled in certain individual and small group plans passed the Senate and is now on the House side. A hearing has not been scheduled for the bill on the House side.

Senate Bill 74, which would authorize tax credits for donors to health charity organizations, has been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.


Knowledge is power: Terry’s enrollment story

Terry S“This is your health we’re talking about.  How important is it to you?”  Terry Stidom, an Atlanta health care consumer, cares about his health and is glad about his decision to get covered. “It became a no-brainer,” he said about his decision to enroll in a health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace last year.  This year, with the increase in providers and plans available in Georgia, he was able to find an even more affordable, comprehensive plan.  What does he love about his plan?  “[It] includes medical, dental, vision, no deductible, low doctor visit co-pays, I get $20 a month in cash back just for going to a gym at least 8 times per month — the list goes on.”  While Terry researched his options and signed up on his own, he encourages others to seek help.  “As you sit and look at each plan, don’t be intimidated by the numbers.  If you’re unsure, call someone to help you.  Knowledge is power!”

Open enrollment ends February 15th – don’t miss out on the opportunity to find the plan right for you and your family.  Click here to find a Navigator in your area and get covered today!

If you or someone you know has an enrollment success story they’d like to share, let us know!  With your help, others can get covered and stay covered.


2015 Advocate’s Guides are Here!

Advocates_Guide_2015Each year Georgians for a Healthy Future develops our signature A Consumer Health Advocate’s Guide to the Legislative Session, and the 2015 editions are in! Whether you are an individual interested in contacting your legislators to let them know you care about health care issues or if you work for an advocacy group and want to get multiple copies for your volunteers, we’re happy to get the guides into your hands. We create them each year to help you be a better advocate.

In this year’s guide, you will find:

  • Detailed legislative process overview
  • Listing of all representatives and senators, their offices and numbers
  • Key contacts in the governor’s office and relevant agency staff
  • Members of key committees and subcommittees
  • Contact information for other health advocate organizations
  • Media contacts
  • Tips to make you an effective advocate

You can download a PDF version or contact Laura Colbert and arrange to pick up hard copies from GHF’s office.


Medicaid Minute

Welcome-to-Indiana-3x2-555x370CMS has approved Indiana’s plan to expand health care coverage for low-income Hoosiers through a waiver program known as Healthy Indiana.  This is great news for the 350,000 Indianans who will now have access to health care coverage. The Healthy Indiana plan, however, includes some features that raise concerns, such as a 6-month lock out policy for people with low incomes who can’t afford to make payments on premiums. Some of these features could create barriers to access. For a breakdown of the pros and cons of the Healthy Indiana plan and what advocates should be watching, see this analysis from our friends at the Georgetown Center on Children and Families.


Infographic of the Week

katy_perry

 


Your voice is needed!

Coverage Gap _ Georgia_EDITTEDWe all know how crucial closing the coverage gap is – it would improve access to health care services for low-income Georgians, bolster our state’s health care delivery system, and strengthen local economies throughout Georgia. We are asking our legislators to schedule hearings on this issue, and we need your help!  Last year, the legislature sent the message with HB 990 that they wanted to be part of the conversation around finding a Georgia solution to cover the uninsured.  We have yet to see them take steps towards opening up that debate.  Tell your legislators that it is time to close the coverage gap.  Send them an e-postcard telling them why you think covering the uninsured should be a priority for the 2015 legislative session.


Peach Pulse: January 30, 2015


Legislative Update

georgia-capital-building

The Legislature has completed eight days of the 40-day session and will convene Monday through Wednesday next week. There will also be several committee hearings next week, including:

1) Senate Appropriations Community Health subcommittee meeting Tuesday at 3 PM in CLOB 307.  The agenda for this hearing will feature testimony about the importance of maintaining Medicaid parity for primary care providers in Georgia.

2) Senate Health and Human Services committee meeting on Tuesday at 1 PM in CAP 450 (Agenda to be announced).

3) House Health and Human Services committee meeting on Monday at 3 PM in CLOB 606 to discuss HB 47.

Committee meetings are open to the public and we encourage health-focused advocates to attend. Of course, your Georgians for a Healthy Future team is monitoring legislative developments and advocating for our priority issues throughout the legislative session and we will keep you informed about key opportunities for advocacy as they emerge. Below is a status report on the issues Georgians for a Healthy Future is supporting this year.

Closing Georgia’s Coverage Gap: There has not yet been any legislative activity in this area, as the General Assembly has been focused on addressing the transportation funding issue.  Georgians for a Healthy Future supports holding hearings on the need to close Georgia’s coverage gap as a first step to achieving this legislative priority. Please contact your Representative and Senator and tell them you support holding hearings on Medicaid expansion this year. You can find your legislators here.

Increasing Georgia’s Tobacco Tax: There has been early momentum around increasing Georgia’s tobacco tax, and a bill has been drafted to increase the state excise tax on cigarettes by $1.23 per pack. The bill also includes a comparable increase on other tobacco products. This bill is awaiting a fiscal note from the state, which we expect to be completed by the first week in February.  See our one-pager on how increasing the tobacco tax can help reduce smoking and improve health in Georgia. Georgians for a  Healthy Future is proud to be part of a coalition of health organizations working on this important issue—please stay tuned for updates on this issue once the fiscal note is in!

Medicaid Payment Parity:  Georgians for a Healthy Future supports maintaining payment parity for primary care providers (see this week’s Medicaid Minute for an explanation of how this improves access to care for Georgia patients) by restoring the temporary reimbursement rate hike that expired at the end of 2014.  Senator Renee Unterman has proposed a $60 million appropriation for this, and Medicaid payment parity will be a topic of conversation at next week’s Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing (on Tuesday at 3pm).  This hearing presents an opportunity to weigh in with your state legislators to let them know you support the payment bump and to ask them to include it in the FY 2016 Budget.


Coverage Day at the Capitol Recap

IMG_2595 IMG_2568 IMG_2589

This past Tuesday was Coverage Day at the Capitol! Laura Colbert, GHF’s Community Outreach Manager, spearheaded the day with the help of many Cover Georgia partner organizations.  The opportunity to talk with legislators about the coverage gap drew about 75 advocates and volunteers to the State Capitol. After an advocacy training session, the group met with their legislators throughout the morning by “working the ropes.”  The group reconvened for lunch and a press briefing, covered by both WABE and the Georgia Report! Members of the Cover Georgia coalition displayed their information, materials, and projects in the Capitol Rotunda throughout the afternoon. It was a full day of advocacy in support of closing Georgia’s coverage gap!  We’re hoping that Georgia’s legislators heard our message loud and clear – it’s time to start talking about closing Georgia’s coverage gap!


GHF Receives MLK Community Service Award

IMG_0286GHF celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day last week by receiving an award at Emory University’s 23rd annual MLK Community Service Awards.  This year’s award program recognized organizations that work to address injustices in the Atlanta community, often before those injustices become headlines.  Harry Heiman, out-going board chair, and Laura Colbert accepted the award on GHF’s behalf.  In Harry’s acceptance speech, he remembered Dr. King’s quote: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”  GHF works hard to ensure equal access to high quality, affordable health care for all Georgians.  We are honored to accept this award and congratulate the other very deserving awardees.


Medicaid Minute

Georgia’s Medicaid patients could face longer wait times for doctor’s appointments without legislative action. That’s because a nation-wide bump in primary care provider reimbursement rates expired at the end of 2014, triggering a need for state action. This temporary rate bump resulted in an average eight percent increase in appointment availability, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study examined ten states, including Georgia, and concluded that payment rate increases are an effective strategy for enhancing access to primary care services. According to a participating physician in Texas, his practice was able to double the amount of Medicaid patients seen during the two year time the pay bump was in effect.  By restoring the rate bump, known as Medicaid payment parity, Georgia policymakers can help ensure patients get timely access to primary care in an appropriate setting and help keep patients from ending up in the emergency room.


GHF Board Changes

With the New Year, GHF kicks of a new board.  Kathy Floyd has stepped into the position of board chair, taking the reins from Harry Heiman.  A board member of several years, we know she will bring strong leadership and vision to our growing organization.  We are also thankful for Harry’s incredible run and accomplishments as board chair during a period of growth for GHF. We are excited to welcome new board members Danté McKay, Jay Berkelhamer, Natalie Hernandez, and Monica Ponder!  Each brings substantial experience and expertise and we’re excited to have them as part of the GHF team.  As the same time, we are sad to see wonderful partners rolling off the board.  Julie Edelson, Marci Thomas, Jeffery Graham, Sylvia Caley, and Iris Feinberg have all finished their board terms and, while we will miss them, we hope they will enjoy their newfound free time!


Infographic of the Week

Countdown infographic end of open enrollment


Peach Pulse: January, 23, 2015


Coverage Day at the Capitol 

IMG_0771Please join us this coming Tuesday, January 27, from 9 am to noon for a day of advocacy!  GHF and the Cover Georgia coalition have planned a full day of activities to raise awareness about the important role that coverage plays in the health and financial security of all Georgians and to ask our legislators to close Georgia’s coverage gap.  More than 15 organizations are already participating, and it’s not too late to join us! We’ll provide breakfast and lunch, an advocacy training, and opportunities to share your materials and personal health care stories at our afternoon Capitol Rotunda display.

To sign up, click here.  If you have any questions, please contact Laura Colbert.


The 2015 Legislative Session is Underway!

georgia-capital-buildingThe legislative session opened last week, and health care is already a hot topic. Here is what we have learned in the first week and a half:

It’s budget week! Governor Deal released his budget on Friday, and legislators have been holding budget hearings all week. Here are two aspects of the health care budget that have our attention:

  • The proposed budget eliminates State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) coverage for non-certificated school employees (bus drivers, custodians, etc) who work less than 30 hours a week.  State officials estimate it will affect more than 11,000 state employees.  We’re still sifting through the details, but we’re very concerned that some of those employees may fall into the coverage gap if they lose coverage through the SHBP.
  • There is no money in the state budget to sustain the primary care reimbursement rate increase that was temporarily funded with federal dollars. This temporary bump  made it easier for patients in Georgia and other states to get medical appointments and access care.
There has also been some early momentum at the Capitol around an increase in the tobacco tax, one of Georgians for a Healthy Future’s legislative priorities! As bills and budget items impacting health care in Georgia are introduced and discussed, we will keep you posted and identify opportunities for advocacy. We’ll be at the Gold Dome throughout the session so look for updates and alerts in each Peach Pulse!

Thank you for making Health Care Unscrambled a huge success!

Health Care Unscrambled Health Care Unscrambled Health Care Unscrambled Health Care Unscrambled Health Care Unscrambled

Thank you to those of you who joined us for our fifth annual Health Care Unscrambled policy breakfast on January 15! This year’s event featured two powerhouse panels: a bipartisan legislative discussion and a panel that focused on the recent experiences of Kentucky and Arkansas, two Southern states that are moving forward with innovative plans to cover their uninsured and improve population health, and featured the insights of a national expert.

This year’s Health Care Unscrambled also provided an opportunity for Georgia health care advocates, policymakers, stakeholders, and consumers to come together just as the 2015 Legislative Session got underway to focus our attention on the most pressing health policy issues facing our state, including a robust discussion about the coverage gap.  Senator Dean Burke said that while last year he would have said there was a 0 out of 10 chance for Georgia to close the gap, this year he moved it to a 5 out of 10.  We’re excited about these improved chances and will continue to advocate for movement this legislative session!

We wrapped up the event with a reveal of our 2015 legislative priorities, which you can find here. You can read Georgia Health News’s coverage of the event here.


GHF goes to Washington

Families USA HHS Sec IMG_2495 IMG_2520

This week, Cindy and Anna are representing Georgians for a Healthy Future at Families USA’s Health Action 2015 conference!  We’re getting inspiration from national leaders, learning about best practices from experts and advocates doing great work around the country, and sharing our own experiences advocating for Georgia health care consumers. GHF’s Executive Director Cindy Zeldin spoke on a workshop panel about how to advocate for consumers enrolled in private health insurance. Check out Facebook and Twitter through Saturday for conference updates!


Story collecting with Mercy Care

Mercy Care EventGHF partnered with Mercy Care to kick off the legislative session by collecting the stories of people who fall in the coverage gap.  As the governor was being inaugurated and our legislators were being sworn in, we talked to Mercy Care’s patients how health care coverage would help them.  Everyone we talked to expressed that health care coverage would help them go back to work, take better care of their family, or better manage their health.  We will be sharing these stories on Coverage Day through social media and in person as we talk with policy makers about the importance of closing the coverage gap. HealthSTAT and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council were critical partners for this story collection effort!

 If you are in the coverage gap and would like to share your health care story with us, click here .


Medicaid Minute

Last year, the number of uninsured Americans declined, fewer adults reported difficulties paying for medical bills and medical debt, and fewer adults delayed care because of cost. These encouraging findings, which come from the Commonwealth Fund’s Biennial Health Insurance Survey, are great news for patients and consumers. These coverage and access gains, however, were not experienced evenly across the country. People living in states (like Georgia) that haven’t expanded Medicaid were more likely to be uninsured and to face burdensome medical bills than those living in states that have expanded Medicaid. Let’s not leave Georgia patients and consumers behind-let’s close the coverage gap!


Infographic of the week

women and the aca