Peach Pulse Archive 2013
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN GEORGIA
Georgia’s Health Insurance Marketplace is open for business
On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, Georgia’s Health Insurance Marketplace opened for business. Uninsured Georgians can now go to www.healthcare.gov to shop the Marketplace and see what insurance plan makes the most sense for them and their families. Open enrollment runs from October 1 to March 31 so there is plenty of time for consumers to take their time, research their options, and pick a plan that works for them.
The work of outreach and education to communities across our state will never be more important. 78% of people report that they do not know about the Marketplace or how it will affect them—we are working hard to change this! Georgians for a Healthy Future along with Seedco and our other navigator consortium partners is working hard to make sure we are connecting Georgians to coverage. We cannot do it alone and we hope we can count on your support and partnership. To read more about the launch of open enrollment, click here.
New Open Enrollment Resource Center
There is a new resource center on the Georgians for a Healthy Future website that is a centralized destination for everything consumers and community partners might need related to the Health Insurance Marketplace. There they can find resources, tools, updates and more about new opportunities for healthcare coverage as we move forward with implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Visit and refer others to the resource center to find:
Be sure to check the resource center frequently for updates and new resources.
Insurance plan data now available for browsing
Since the launch of www.healthcare.gov, consumers have had a difficult time creating an account, logging in and browsing information about insurance plans. To help more people shop and enroll in these new coverage options, HHS has added more servers and engineers, and improved the system configuration so it can handle more volume and will have shorter wait times. HHS has designed the system to be dynamic, and will continue to make adjustments to improve the consumer experience.
As of late last week, HHS allows consumers to preview Marketplace health plans and prices available in their area without having to create an account. To find out their actual costs, consumers will still need to apply. The estimates provided on this site do NOT include the premium subsidies. Individuals between 100% and 400% of federal poverty level (FPL) are eligible for subsidies in the exchange that make their insurance more affordable. To calculate the premium assistance they may be eligible for, consumers can visit the Kaiser Family Foundation’s subsidy calculator.
HHS will continue to work with consumers during the next six months to get people enrolled in the health insurance plans they need and want. People have until December 15 to apply for coverage starting January 1, 2014, but open enrollment is on-going through March 31, 2014.
THE UNINSURED IN GEORGIA
Georgians in the coverage gap
The Affordable Care Act was originally drafted so that individuals making up to 138% FPL (approx. $15,000 for an individual or $27,000 for a family of 3) would be eligible for Medicaid. The Supreme Court decision in June 2012 made this optional for states and to date, Georgia has not elected to expand coverage through Medicaid. The ACA also authorizes individuals between 100% and 400% FPL to receive premium subsidy assistance to make their insurance affordable.
So what happens to the individuals who are not currently eligible for Medicaid with incomes below 100% FPL? They fall into the coverage gap.
So what will happen to people in the coverage gap? Unfortunately, these individuals will not qualify for Medicaid and are not eligible for exchange subsidies so insurance will remain unaffordable and they will not be able purchase it. They do not have to pay a penalty under the “individual mandate” but they will also not have a reliable source of healthcare. While they can continue to access the healthcare system the way they do now–through the Emergency Room, at community health centers, and at free clinics, they will continue to suffer the consequences of avoidable hospitalizations and complications.
Georgia’s decision to expand coverage through Medicaid is one without a deadline.
Please join the Cover Georgia coalition in its efforts to move forward with this expansion. There are several ways to get involved:
- Take five minutes to call Governor Deal at 404-656-1776 and ask him to support expanding Medicaid in Georgia to people with incomes up to 138% FPL. For talking points, click here.
- Sign and share the petition to Governor Deal.
- Share your story with us–are you one of the people who would gain coverage with expanded Medicaid? Do you know people who would? Have them share their story with us to help put a face on this important issue to policy makers and the media.
- Join Cover Georgia and become an active member of our statewide coalition dedicated to expanding coverage for Georgians.
Georgians who have used the Health Insurance Marketplace
Since the launch of the Health Insurance Marketplace, GHF has been working to connect Georgians to coverage. We are very eager to hear from consumers who have tried to navigate the online marketplace on their own or with the assistance of a navigator, certified application counselor, agent, or broker. Please share your experience with us–good or bad–so that we can continue to learn and assist Georgians with the enrollment process.
RECENT AND UPCOMING EVENTS
Help us plan an open enrollment event in your community
With nearly 2 million uninsured Georgians, we have a lot of work over the next several months to connect those Georgians to the resources they need to access affordable health insurance. GHF and our Seedco consortium partners are working hard to plan events across the state in local communities and with local partners. If you are interested in partnering with us to identify a community who will benefit from this information, please reach out to us and let us know.
GHF benefit concert with Paul Thorn
Thanks to Paul Thorn Band and Jackson County Line, and the music lovers in Atlanta, GHF’s first ever benefit concert on September 7 was a success! Thanks to all our supporters who came out for an evening of camaraderie and music. A very special thank you to GHF Board Member, Jon Wollenzien for his leadership and vision for this event. Click here to see pictures from the concert.MORE >