One Year Later: Seniors

As we continue to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we look to the changes that affect senior citizens and highlight how far we’ve come in just one year.  One of the first provisions to take effect under the new law was the beginning of the closing of the Medicare donut hole.   (more…)


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One Year Later: Small Businesses

When Julie Haley started her small business, Edge Solutions, in 2008, she had to make some tough decisions.  She wanted to attract high-caliber employees and wanted to be competitive within her field, IT.  Though it was a significant financial commitment, she believed that providing health insurance to her employees was crucial.


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Health Legislation in Committee This Week

Here’s what’s on the agenda for the health care committees in the Georgia General Assembly this week. As these are all subject to change, check the General Assembly’s website for the most up-to-date information.

 

 

Monday

9am Senate HHS Health Care Delivery Subcommittee Meeting

125 CAP

SB 76

SB 93

SB 178

 

10am House Insurance Admin/Licensing Subcommittee Meeting

415 CLOB

HB 476

HB 380

 

2pm Senate HHS Full Committee Meeting

450 CAP

SB 22

 

3:30pm House HHS Full Committee Meeting

606 CLOB

HB 324, Neal

HB 405

HB 434

 

Tuesday

8:30am, Senate HHS Subcommittee

125 CAP

 

2pm or upon adjournment, House Health Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting

341 CAP

FY 2012 Budget

 

3pm, Senate Insurance & Labor Committee

450 CAP

 

4pm, House Insurance Committee

406 CLOB

HB 298

HB 370

HB 371

HB 380

HB 413

HB 476

 

Wednesday

10am, Senate HHS

450 CAP

 

Thursday

1pm, Senate Insurance

MEZZ

 

 


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Bills We’re Watching: HB 476

By Cindy Zeldin

 

On Friday, House Bill 476, which would establish the Georgia Health Exchange Authority, was introduced. The legislation sets up a governance structure for a state health insurance exchange and creates an advisory committee to advise the governing board on the design, implementation, and operation of the exchange and is tasked with providing a report containing specific recommendations based on a set of guiding principles delineated in the bill in December 2011. This legislation is a constructive first step towards creating a more competitive, consumer-friendly, and affordable health insurance marketplace in Georgia. The bill is on the agenda in the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday, March 8th at 4pm in Room 406 CLOB.

 


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Young Adults and Dependent Coverage

[Washington, DC] – A few weeks ago, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) spoke out against one of the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions, which allows young adults to stay on their parent’s plan up to age 26. Speaking from the House floor he said “I have four kids under the age of 26. I have raised them to be responsible. The average age of soldiers in Vietnam was 19. World War II probably the same. I have raised my kids to be responsible, to get health care at 21. Kids don’t need to be running home to mommy and daddy until they’re 26 for healthcare.”  The dependent coverage provision is one of the most popular in the health care law, with polls showing as much as 70% of Americans support the provision. (more…)


Bills We’re Watching: HB 214

Back in December, The Public Health Commission issued its final report to the Governor, Speaker, and Lieutenant Governor recommending that the Division of Public Health become an independent, cabinet-level state agency, with the Commissioner reporting directly to the Governor and serving as the state’s chief health officer.  On February 10, 2011, Representative Mickey Channell (R-Greensboro) introduced House Bill 214 that would do just that.  The legislation would take the Department of Public  and Health out of the Department of Community Health and would make it its own stand-alone agency effective July 1, 2011.  The bill has the support and backing of Governor Deal and key Republican Leadership, as well as members of the public health community.


On Wednesday, the legislation won unanimous approval from the House Health and Human Services Committee and now moves on to the Rules Committee before moving on to the House floor.


Click here to read a release from Partner Up! for Public Health Campaign on this legislation.



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PCIP Update

By Cindy Zeldin


The Pre-Existing Condition Plan (PCIP) is a new health insurance option for uninsured Georgians who have been denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. The PCIP, authorized by the Affordable Care Act, is intended to provide coverage for consumers who are locked out of the insurance market due to a pre-existing condition. To be eligible, applicants to the PCIP must be uninsured for at least six months and have a letter of denial from a private insurer. As of February 1st of this year, 399 Georgians had signed up for coverage through the PCIP. The premiums are subsidized entirely with federal dollars and no state funds are associated with the program. In fact, the Governor’s FY 2012 budget proposal realizes savings of $680,263 from the movement of previously uninsured hemophilia patients who had been accessing life-saving drugs through a state program into the PCIP, where those drugs are now covered. You can download our new fact sheet on the PCIP here.




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Bills We’re Watching: HB 229

HB 229 Tackles Problems of Backlogged and Unfair Medicaid Appeals

 

Both federal and state law grants Medicaid members and applicants the right to a fair hearing when Medicaid services are denied for reasons such as eligibility determination, frequency, or duration or intensity of services.  When a Medicaid member is denied coverage he or she may dispute the denial by filing an appeal and request for a hearing with the Department of Community Health (DCH), the state agency that administers the Medicaid program.  DCH processes the request and forwards it to the Office of State Administrative Hearings (OSAH) for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).  The ALJ listens to testimony, reviews the evidence, and reaches an impartial decision.  Federal law requires that when a Medicaid member requests an appeal a final decision must be made within 90 days, absent extenuating circumstances.

 

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General Assembly This Week: Committee Meetings

Several committees in the Georgia General Assembly that are considering health care related legislation are meeting this week. Here is a schedule of what’s on tap. As these are subject to change, check here for updated House committee meeting information and here for updated Senate committee meeting information. If you want to weigh in on any of these bills, the committees often allow public comment.


Monday:
House Appropriations Health Subcommittee
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
406 CLOB
Agenda:   FY Budget Presentation from the following:
Georgia Composite Medical Board
Georgia Cancer Coalition
Georgia Board for Physician Workforce
State Medical Education Board
Primary Care Workforce Presentation by Denise Kornegay


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Bills We’re Watching: HB 47

By Cindy Zeldin


During the Legislative Session, Georgians for a Healthy Future monitors health care related legislation. One bill that is making its way through the House Insurance Committee, House Bill 47, raises serious concerns for health care consumers. The bill would allow Georgia insurers to sell individual health insurance products with benefit designs equivalent to those sold in other states, essentially doing an end-run around current Georgia law and allowing insurers to offer a separate class of health insurance plans that are exempt from the minimum coverage protections that our policymakers have deemed an appropriate floor for all insurance products sold in the state.

(more…)


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