Peach Pulse: September 4, 2014

New from GHF: ACA and the LGBT Community

  • What health care rights and protections do legally married same-sex couples have in states like Georgia that don’t currently recognize same-sex marriage?
  • Can health insurance navigators help consumers find LGBT-friendly plans? (Hint – yes they can!)
  • How can a consumer file a complaint if they experience discrimination?
  • What new health care rights and protections do transgender individuals have?

The Affordable Care Act makes health insurance and health care more understandable, more accessible, more affordable, and more comprehensive for Georgians, no matter their gender identity.  Georgians for a Healthy Future and Georgia Equality have teamed up to develop  a new set of LGBT specific fact sheets to answer some of these challenging questions that LGBT individuals and families face as they seek out, enroll in, and use their health coverage.

These fact sheets are intended to be a resource for individual consumers and for organizations who represent or provide services tailored to LGBT Georgians. You can view and download these new fact sheets here. If you would like hard copies to distribute to your members, clients, or community partners, please contact Laura Colbert, Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Community Outreach Manager.

Health Insurance Options For Georgia’s LGBT Community

Transgender Health Care

Love and Marriage: Health Insurance Rights for LGBT families

Connecting Georgians to Coverage: One Day Left – Resolve Citizenship Inconsistencies Now!

There is one day left for the 20,900 Georgians who received letters from the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) asking for citizenship verification.  Georgians who haven’t responded by September 5th will see their health care coverage end on September 30th.  Consumers whose coverage is canceled may be required to pay back some or all of the tax credits they received.

If you or someone you know has received this letter, please visit and type in your zip code.  This will take you a list of organizations with health care Navigators – licensed professionals who can walk you through what needs to be done and how to get it done by the deadline. Click here assistance.

For up to the second information on this time sensitive issue, follow the twitter hashtags #BySept5 #StayCovered #Asegurate

SBIRT, GCSA, and NRM: Acronyms You Should Know

More than 300,000 Georgians have enrolled in health insurance since last October, when new coverage opportunities became available through the Health Insurance Marketplace. These big coverage gains present an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of prevention, both among consumers and policymakers.  We are already seeing the lifesaving impact that services like cancer screening, blood pressure checks, and mammograms are having.  One screening tool not broadly talked about is Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).  SBIRT is a cost-effective way to identify individuals who are at risk of developing a substance use disorder and can often prevent the development of addiction or refer those in need to treatment.  Studies have shown every $1 invested in SBIRT yields $4 in savings. This important set of preventive tools should be available to all Georgians, particularly to our state’s youth.

This important set of preventive tools should be available to all Georgians, particularly to our state’s youth. The rise in heroin use among Georgia adolescents has gained widespread attention in recent months, but the problems goes beyond just heroin. By the time a student reaches ninth grade, 1 in 5 will display signs of alcohol use, a rate which rises to 2 in 5 by the twelfth grade. Approximately 20 percent of twelfth-graders are also engaging in drug use. We know that drug and alcohol use that starts in adolescence all too often becomes a lifelong habit. In fact, 90% of adults with a substance use disorder began using alcohol and/or drugs before the age of 18 and half under the age of 15.  With an increased awareness and use of SBIRT, we can work together to prevent drug and substance use disorders among Georgia’s youth and help them lead healthier and more productive lives.  To raise awareness about substance use disorders among Georgia’s youth as a public health challenge that can be addressed through prevention, Georgians for a Healthy Future and the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse (GCSA) have teamed up to raise awareness of and advocate for widespread use of SBIRT.

The GHF/GCSA campaign starts now, taking advantage of the spotlight already on the issue during the month of September: National Recovery Month.  Throughout the month, GCSA will participate in more than 20 events statewide to rally support, increase awareness, and connect people to the care they need.  See if there’s an event in your area!  The theme for this year’s Recovery Month is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” and we hope you will follow suit by speaking up and reaching out to those around you.  This is a crucial health issue that touches so many lives – join GHF and GCSA’s commitment to SBIRT and dedicated youth screening and early intervention efforts.  Stay posted for more information about SBIRT and recovery throughout the month!

For more information about teen substance abuse, please visit  If a teen if your life is struggling with addiction, please call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline number (800) 662-HELP or (800) 662-4357 or the Georgia Crisis and Access Line 0 1.800.715.4225 or .

Washington Update: Funding for PeachCare to Expire in 2015!

THE GOOD NEWS:  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, in October of 2015 the federal match rate for PeachCare for Kids increases from 75 percent to 93 percent. This means that Georgia’s financial responsibility for PeachCare for Kids will decline from 25 percent of program costs to 7 percent.  This is great news for Georgia’s children!

THE BAD NEWS: Funding for PeachCare for Kids is only guaranteed through September 2015.  That’s right, this crucial program that has been so successful in keeping Georgia’s children healthy is precariously close to running out of money.

PeachCare for Kids, Georgia’s Children Health Care Insurance Program (CHIP), provides more than 220,000 children with access to primary, preventive, specialist, dental care and vision care as well as hospitalization, emergency room services, prescription medications and mental health care services.  PeachCare for Kids serves children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but still cannot afford private health insurance. The program, which started in 1999, leverages federal dollars to support the state’s commitment to access to care for our state’s children. PeachCare for Kids has been very successful, with Georgia ranking 8th in the nation for the number of enrolled children.

How can you help?  Let your Congressman know that CHIP/PeachCare works and we want it to keep working!  Click here to find your federal Representative and Senator and their contact information.  For up to date information on this developing issue, follow GHF on Facebook and Twitter.

Medicaid Minute

For Georgians who fall into the coverage gap,
living without health insurance and access to comprehensive health care services is a part of everyday life. To raise awareness about the importance of this issue, Mercy Care took to the streets, bringing it into the everyday lives of Atlanta workers on their lunch break with a flash mob!  We may not like that Georgia hasn’t expanded Medicaid, but we sure were happy to see this display of support in Woodruff Park!  Click the picture to check it out!


Georgians for a Healthy Future is honored to call Mercy Care a partner in the campaign to close the coverage gap in Georgia. To learn more about the Cover Georgia campaign to expand Medicaid in Georgia, visit If your organization would like to join the coalition, please contact Laura Colbert, Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Community Outreach Manager.