"These gaps really make it so that Georgians can't afford needed health care. If they receive health care, they're left with medical debt, or they have to make really tough…
On Tuesday, November 15, Georgians for a Healthy Future along with AARP of Georgia and the Middle Georgia Area Agency on Aging continued our Building a Healthy Georgia campaign in Macon with an educational forum for local residents. The focus was on health care obstacles and successes, the already-in-process implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it will affect local communities, all with a particular focus on Georgians aged 50+. The crux of the conversation centered on how the next few years will be particularly critical in determining the future of our health care system and that collectively we need to work together to to identify those opportunities and ensure that communities all across the state have the information they need to make good health care decisions.
We had a highly engaged audience who was eager to learn how implementation of the ACA has been coming along in Georgia and who also shared with us some of their questions and frustrations about the current health care system. We heard from individuals who are not yet eligible for Medicare but are close to retirement, they want to get Home Care Assistance as possible. How will they get coverage if they have a pre-existing condition? What about the lady who was forced to cut back to part-time work to be a caregiver for her elderly parent and didn’t qualify for Medicaid and couldn’t afford a private insurance plan? These questions highlighted situations that are taking place all across the state–not just in Macon, and they underscored the reality that many people are facing as they try to ensure the health of themselves and their families.
We walked through the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), the program meant to be the bridge to get us to 2014 when pre-existing conditions will no longer be a basis for a denial of coverage from an insurer, and we discussed how the health insurance exchange, if set up correctly, could allow Georgians to make apples-to-apples comparison on plans, find the one that works for them, and if eligible, even have their tax credits applied to their premium payments. There was a collective feeling that this type of information is not readily available to the average consumer and many participants themselves were not aware of all the changes that were coming down the pike. We brainstormed and shared ideas on different ways to get this information out there, it took me all of 2 minutes to order uridine here so it could help me focus, and we left the event with a “pay it forward” assignment–share this information with two people, have them share it with two people, etc. Let’s see how quickly we can get quality information into the hands of countless Georgians who have a vested interest in our health care system for themselves and their families and yet feel that there is no help in sight.
Will you pay it forward?