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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.

Despite a requirement in Georgia law that all insurance products cover basic benefits like cancer screenings, insurers would be permitted to sell products that don’t include these vital services. Further, the bill requires that any health plan authorized by this legislation include a buyer beware clause that reads as follows:  “The benefits of this policy may primarily be governed by the laws of a state other than Georgia; therefore, all of the laws applicable to policies filed in this state may not apply to this policy. Any purchase of individual health insurance should be considered carefully since future medical conditions may make it impossible to qualify for another individual health insurance policy.” Eroding basic coverage is bad for consumers and bad for Georgia. It will be considered by the House Insurance Committee on Thursday at 1pm. If you have questions about the legislation or wish to express your concerns to the committee, please contact us for additional information.

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