NEWS & MEDIA
In The News
Georgians for a Healthy Future is frequently cited in news articles about health care issues, ensuring the consumer perspective is heard. Read news stories featuring Georgians for a Healthy Future’s perspective below.
According to numbers provided Monday by Georgia Department of Human Services Sec. Candice Broce, about 1.7 million people still need their cases processed…While the state has yet to break down why more than half a million Georgians have had their status terminated, health care advocates like Laura Colbert believe it’s a combination of ineligibility and clerical reasons. “Some folks often aren’t getting the notices that they need to renew their coverage” said Colbert.
Georgia ranks third in the nation for hospital closures. Since 2010, Georgians for a Healthy Future reports nine rural hospitals have closed in Georgia, leaving 26% of Georgians without critical services.
Laura Colbert, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, which advocates for Medicaid expansion, had this message for those who attended the organization’s Health Care Unscrambled event held Thursday: “I’m not going to count our chickens before they hatch – we don’t have expansion yet – but it’s coming.”
During a recent event hosted by health care advocacy group Georgian’s for a Healthy Future, Republican State Rep. Sharon Cooper pointed to a Senate subcommittee recommendation to repeal hospital certificate of need laws in exchange for expanding Medicaid.
“Legislators don’t like to be told and the governors especially that. you know, ‘We’ll do this if you do this,’” Cooper said.
The biggest obstacle is Georgia Pathways, the state’s limited Medicaid expansion that includes the nation’s only work requirement for Medicaid recipients, said Laura Colbert, executive director of the advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future.
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has championed the program, which launched in July. Though it is off to a rocky start, with just under 2,350 people enrolled as of mid-December, the Kemp administration has sought to extend it past its September 2025 expiration date.
“Governor Kemp has put a lot of political capital into Pathways,” Colbert said.
Colbert said she was optimistic that Georgia lawmakers would eventually approve a fuller expansion of coverage for low-income adults, but not necessarily this year.
At an event to promote open enrollment, Deanna Williams, an Insurance Navigator in central Georgia with the nonprofit policy group Georgians for a Healthy Future, said she has gotten a lot of calls this year from people asking what coverage is included in ACA marketplace plans.
“So we are helping them to apply in many ways,” Williams said. “We’re just making sure they have the plan that provides the coverage they need, whether they want a specific hospital or specific doctor, whether it’s making sure that they still get the coverage that’s catered to their health needs.”
Williams is among the dozens of free community-based insurance navigators around the state funded in part through the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for 2024 open enrollment.
“That’s a part of getting help with someone in your community. We are in the community, in rural communities. And we do have help in the metro Atlanta area,” Williams said.
Other changes this year in Georgia include the ongoing transition to the state-based marketplace Georgia Access.
Insurance shoppers can find information about open enrollment at either Georgia Access or the federal ACA exchange HealthCare.gov, which is currently accessible through Georgia Access.
Advocates have long expressed concern over the timing of the state’s launch of the Georgia Access marketplace.
“Even on Georgia Access right now, it is going to redirect you over to healthcare.gov so you can visit the site just to give you information. But please visit healthcare.gov to enroll in completed application,” said Williams.
But healthcare.gov is referring consumers looking for assistance back to the state-run Georgia Access site, said Deanna Williams, who is a health insurance navigator with the patient advocacy organization Georgians for a Healthy Future.
On the state site, this free assistance can be accessed by searching for navigators based on county of residence.
“We’re just making sure that they have the plan that provides the coverage they need, whether they want a specific hospital or a specific doctor. We’re just making sure that they still get the coverage that’s catered to their health needs,” Williams said on a virtual press call this week organized by Protect Our Care.
Deanna Williams, a health insurance navigator with Georgians for a Healthy Future, said she can reach out on behalf of someone to speak with insurance brokers and agents.
These are local, certified application counselors and navigators who are trained to help Georgians — at no cost — explore their health insurance options.
“Whether they want a specific hospital or a specific doctor, we’re just making sure that they still get the coverage that’s catered to their health needs,” Deanna Williams said.
Depending on income, families may qualify for coverage through Medicaid or PeachCare.
Due to Georgia’s transition to the state-based marketplace, Pathways to Coverage, the assistors are no longer listed on healthcare.gov, but you can still gain access to the network by visiting the Georgiaaccess.gov site.
Click the dropdown arrow to find assistance and select “find local assistors” to find help in your county.
All the marketplace plans cover benefits that you need, including prescription drugs, emergency services and lab work, Williams said, noting that preventative health services are also covered by all available plans.
“We all know it’s flu season, so please get your flu shot,” she said.
People with pre-existing conditions are also eligible for coverage.
“One of the questions I get all the time is, ‘I have diabetes, so I didn’t know if I could get it,'” Williams said. “Yes. OK. Yes, you can still get coverage. And I’m here to help you get that coverage.”
The effort was a collaboration between Physicians for a National Health Program, a group of doctors that advocates for Medicare for All, elected officials, community members, patients and advocacy groups such as the New Georgia Project, Georgians for a Healthy Future and Georgia Equality.