“In total, the bill will cover about 2.5 million Georgians, we estimate,” said Laura Colbert, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, who lobbied to get the bill through…
This year’s Health Care Unscrambled will feature a lively discussion with five Georgia policymakers: State Representatives Pat Gardner (D-District 57), Buzz Brockway (R-District 102), and Karen Bennett (D-District 94); State Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R-District 52), and Trey Sivley of the Georgia Department of Insurance. Please bring your health policy questions and don’t forget to register for what has become an annual legislative tradition for Georgia’s health advocacy community!
With the changing healthcare landscape, there are new words and phrases that the average consumer is unfamiliar with. Navigators….Certified application counselors (CACs)….and even Marketplace. As consumers try to gather as much information as they can to make informed health care decisions, Georgians for a Healthy Future will continue to demystify the changes and provide you the information you need to make the right decision for you and your family. (more…)
On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, Georgia’s Health Insurance Marketplace opened for business–www.healthcare.gov. So, what’s next? Six months during which uninsured Georgians can learn about their health care options and take advantage of new programs to help them access affordable coverage, often for the first time. Open enrollment runs from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 and during this period the work of outreach and education to communities across our state will never be more important. (more…)
By Em Elliott, Jeff Graham, and Amanda Ptashkin
Georgia Equality and Georgians for a Healthy Future have been working together within the larger Cover Georgia coalition to educate and advocate on the issue of Medicaid in Georgia. Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option to create a new category of eligibility for Medicaid to cover low-income individuals and families, financed almost entirely with federal dollars. Implementing this expansion is the only viable way to cover Georgia’s low-income uninsured, and it will pump resources into our state’s healthcare delivery system. Many other states are also advocating for expansion and Community Catalyst, a national health care reform advocacy organization, came to us with some questions around advocacy, lessons on collaborative partnerships, and the way this issue effects the LGBTQ community.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded health insurance navigator grants to 105 organizations in states with federally facilitated or partnership exchanges to conduct outreach and facilitate enrollment into qualified health plans when open enrollment begins in October. Georgians for a Healthy Future is excited to announce that we are part of a consortium of 15 partners, led by Seedco, a national non-profit organization that advances economic opportunity for people, businesses, and communities in need, that received one of two grants awarded for Georgia. We look forward to playing an active role in connecting Georgia consumers to the new health care coverage opportunities available to them.
Georgians for a Healthy Future will support the consortium’s success by drawing upon our strengths as a consumer health care advocacy leader, experience building and managing coalitions, and knowledge of the Affordable Care Act. In particular, we will work to ensure that the consortium’s activities are coordinated with a wide array of organizations in Georgia that share the goal of maximizing health insurance enrollment in our state. Through our Connecting Georgians to Coverage initiative, we have already held several webinars and meetings for organizations planning to participate in outreach and enrollment in Georgia. To learn more about our work to date in this area, click here. If your organization is planning to engage in outreach and enrollment, either as a navigator, certified application counselor organization, or champion for coverage and if you would like to coordinate your efforts with ours, please email Amanda Ptashkin at email@example.com.
Here is a full list of our navigator consortium members who will work collaboratively with Seedco and with other organizations and stakeholders to connect Georgia’s uninsured to health care coverage:
- Boat People SOS
- Center for Black Women’s Wellness
- Emory-Grady Urban Health Initiative
- Georgia Equality & The Health Initiative
- Georgia Refugee Health and Mental Health
- Georgia Watch
- Georgians for a Healthy Future
- Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia
- Jewish Family & Career Services
- Latin American Association
- Mental Health America of Georgia
- Parent to Parent
- Quality Med-Care Inc.
- Spring Creek Health Cooperative
We look forward to working with Seedco and this strong and diverse coalition over the next year!
Please join Georgians for a Healthy Future at our first ever benefit concert at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points with headliner Paul Thorn on September 7, 2013. The opening act will be Jackson County Line.
WHEN: Saturday September 7, 2013, 8pm
WHERE: Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA, 1099 Euclid Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30307
During the 2013 Legislative Session, our state policymakers passed HR 107, which created a joint study committee on Medicaid reform. The purpose of the committee is to evaluate the state’s Medicaid program, examine best practices in other states, and plan for the future of the program. Many health care advocates monitored the legislation closely during the past Legislative Session because of the important role that Medicaid plays in providing health care services to our state’s most vulnerable citizens. The first meeting date for the study commission has been announced and will be held on August 28th from 10am – 12pm. The location for the meeting has not yet been announced, but more information about the committee is available here.
Open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplace begins on October 1st–a mere 53 days from today. Over the past several months, Georgians for a Healthy Future has been working with community-based organizations, health care focused nonprofits, and other stakeholders to discuss plans for coordinating outreach and enrollment efforts in preparation for the new marketplace. Thanks to your robust participation, we have already had several productive conversations to get this effort underway. Last week, we held a webinar to share the latest information available on national and state plans around outreach and enrollment.
During the 2013 Georgia Legislative Session, our state’s policymakers enacted HB 198 into law, which requires state training, licensure, background checks, and continuing education for navigators. Georgians for a Healthy Future has some concerns about this law and the potential hurdles it sets up for community-focused nonprofits already facing an uphill battle to reach, educate, and facilitate enrollment for consumers who haven’t historically had insurance. As such, we reached out to the Georgia Department of Insurance with suggestions to make the implementation of the law less burdensome for navigators, and some of our input was incorporated.
The proposed rule was presented at a hearing held by the Department of Insurance on July 30th. The regulation implementing HB 198 is available here. Georgians for a Healthy Future was also featured in two recent news articles in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the navigator program, available here and here. Additionally, the Center for Public Integrity just released an article focusing on various state licensure laws as they affect navigators. That article can be found here. We will continue to monitor this process with an eye towards ensuring navigators and assisters aren’t impeded from carrying out their important work.
Last week, health insurance premiums for the Marketplace were a hot topic, as Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner released some information about the rates that insurance companies proposed for the Marketplace. Georgians for a Healthy Future was frequently cited in media coverage of this issue, drawing attention to the fact that many consumers who were shut out of the market in the past would now be able to purchase insurance for the first time, with hefty tax credits that will make these plans affordable.
This issue was covered by the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, Georgia Health News, The Augusta Chronicle, and WSAV-Savannah. Articles featuring comments by Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director are available below.
Some Warn Exchanges Will Raise Insurance Rates
WSAV | August 5, 2013
State grudgingly OKs insurance rates for exchange
Georgia Health News | August 1, 2013
State OKs new rates for insurance exchange
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | August 1, 2013
Georgia seeks delay on high health care premium approvals
Augusta Chronicle | July 30, 2013
State seeks delay on rate approval for exchanges
Georgia Health News | July 30, 2013