Peach Pulse: June 3, 2011


What’s New in Georgia

Building a Healthy Georgia Campaign

Georgians for a Healthy Future, along with many of our coalition partners is embarking on a series of educational forums across the state aimed at bringing together community leaders, health care providers, consumers and small business owners to foster a dialogue on the most pressing health care issues in local communities.  Between now and October, we will hold forums in 9 cities: Alpharetta, Athens, Butler, Macon, Rome, Savannah, Gainesville, Augusta and Tifton.

To learn more about the Building a Healthy Georgia campaign and ways to collaborate on the events, contact Amanda Ptashkin.

Governor Deal Establishes Advisory Committee on Health Insurance Exchange

Earlier this week, Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order creating the Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee. The charge of the committee is to determine if Georgia should establish a state-based health care exchange as authorized by the Affordable Care Act. Georgians for a Healthy Future Executive Director Cindy Zeldin will serve on the committee, providing a seat at the table for the consumer voice. We will keep you updated throughout this process, and in turn please send us your thoughts and ideas for how to build a consumer-friendly exchange so we can bring the best ideas to the committee. The Executive Order, including the list of committee members, is available here.

House Bill 47 Signed Into Law

During the Legislative Session, Georgians for a Healthy Future worked in coalition with a range of patient and consumer advocacy groups to raise concerns about House Bill 47, which would allow Georgia insurance companies to sell individual health plans with benefit designs equivalent to those sold in other states, circumventing current Georgia standards for basic consumer protections and essential medical services that all insurers must cover today under Georgia law. Last month, Governor Deal signed House Bill 47 into law. We will monitor its implementation and keep you updated on advocacy opportunities.

Georgia Department of Community Health Looks at Medicaid Options

The Department of Community Health (DCH) recently announced that they would be undergoing a process to assess the most appropriate approach for providing services to Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids members. The Board of Community Health meets monthly, and the Board’s Policy Committee and Care Management Committee meet periodically as well. Information about upcoming DCH Board Meetings is available here. As we learn more information about potential changes to the Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids programs, we will pass along this information.

Opening Arguments to Start on June 8th

The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit will hear oral arguments in Atlanta on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, in the case State of Florida v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Florida Attorney General’s challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that has been joined by Attorneys General from a number of other states. Consumers and small businesses are already benefiting from the law through new tax credits, an insurance plan for people with pre-existing conditions, and additional consumer protections. Georgians for a Healthy Future is joining Families USA and several consumers who have been impacted by the law for a briefing prior to the oral arguments. The briefing will start at 8am on Wednesday morning at the corner of Forsyth St, NW and Walton St, NW outside the Elbert P. Tuttle United States Court of Appeals Building in Atlanta. Please join us to show your support!

National News

Premiums to Drop 15% for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan

Last week, the Department of Health and Humans Services announced that premium rates for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) would be lowered to encourage more people to enroll.  In Georgia, consumers will see a 15% reduction in premium costs and will no longer need to submit a formal denial letter from an insurer, but rather just send in a doctor’s note confirming the existence of a pre-existing condition.  Consumers hoping to join the PCIP will still need to show that they have been uninsured for six months.  This is a welcome change that should allow more of our state’s 1.9 million uninsured to find and enroll in health insurance.  To read a recent Georgia Health News article on the PCIP, click here.

Health Transformation Grants Now Available:

Through the Affordable Care Act, $100 million dollars is now available for up to 75 Community Transformation Grants across the country.  These grants are aimed at helping communities implement projects proven to reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. By promoting healthy lifestyles and communities, especially among population groups experiencing the greatest burden of chronic disease, these grants will help improve health, reduce health disparities, and lower health care costs.  State and local government agencies as well as state and local non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for the grants. Letters of interest are due on June 6 and applications are due to the CDC in July 2011, with awards expected to be announced near the end of summer. To learn more about the grant opportunity, click here.

600,000 Young Adults Get Coverage

Since September 23rd, 2010, an estimated 600,000 young adults, up to age 26, have been able to remain on or rejoin a parent’s insurance plan through the dependent care provision of the Affordable Care Act.  The Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 1.2 million young adults would gain coverage through this provision in 2011 alone, but given the numbers to date, that figure should be much higher.  This provision is particularly popular because people in their 20’s have the highest uninsurance rate of any group, 30%.  To read more about the dependent care provision of the ACA, click here and here.

Have you been able to keep your children on your plan due to this provision? If so, let us know by emailing Amanda Ptashkin at