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Legislative Update February 2, 2016

Week 3

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Week three was a very exciting one for Georgia health care consumers! The introduction of SB 302 signaled true movement on consumer priorities, like insurer provider directory transparency. Check below to see what happened and how you can get involved.

If you’re looking for a list of all the bills we’re tracking and their status in the legislature, click here.

 


What Happened This Week

Improving Provider Directories 

We are very excited to share with you that last week Senator P.K. Martin (R-9th)  introduced legislation to address provider directory inaccuracies and usability limitations. Senators Burke (R-11th), Watson (R-1st), Parent (D-42nd), and Unterman (R-45th) are also co-sponsors of SB 302. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Insurance Committee and we expect it will receive a hearing within the next week. Read SB 302.

Please join us in thanking Sen. Martin for introducing such an important piece of legislation! You can email him here or call him at 404-656-3933.

GHF has developed a suite of materials on provider directories. Check out our fact sheet and policy briefto learn more about this important consumer issue.

 

Budget
The mid-year supplemental budget (HB 750) passed the House 176 – 0. The budget contained no surprises and now goes over to the Senate. We are continuing to monitor the budget process. Our friends at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute have developed an overview for more information.

 

Surprise Out-Of-Network Billing
In both the House and Senate we are still hearing strong interest in addressing surprise out-of-network billing. It is probable that we will soon see a bill that addresses this issue and we will keep you updated with any such developments.

 

Closing Georgia’s Coverage Gap 
Rep. Stacey Abrams has sponsored HB 823, the Expand Medicaid Now Act. While we don’t expect this legislation to receive a hearing this year, it is sparking important conversations about the coverage gap in Georgia. Read more here.If you want to get involved in the movement to close Georgia’s coverage gap you can share this video with your social network and sign this petition.

 

Network Adequacy
Georgians for a Healthy Future supports updating Georgia’s network adequacy standards to ensure that consumers can access an in-network provider for all covered benefits in their plan. This past fall, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners updated its model act on network adequacy. Shortly thereafter, Georgia’s Consumer and Provider Protection Act Study Committee recommended a multi-stakeholder review of the model act to determine how Georgia should proceed on this important issue. While there hasn’t been any movement on network adequacy yet this legislative session, it’s an issue we’re closely watching. You can check out the network adequacy page on our website for background materials (including our new policy report), videos, and news articles on network adequacy.

Let’s Chat
This week we’re highlighting in our Consumer Health Advocacy Today video series a conversation with Senator Greg Kirk about what he sees as the most important issue facing Georgia health care consumers: keeping our rural hospitals open. We are also very concerned abut maintaining adequate care in our rural communities. To learn more about the issues facing our rural hospitals, click here.

 

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