Laura Colbert, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future, said Monday that health care spending growth has been squeezing patients. “We hear from consumers that…
Sean “Saifa” Wall is an Atlanta-based intersex justice activist. He is currently enrolled in a health plan with Ambetter through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace (also called healthcare.gov).
As an activist, Saifa’s income is generated exclusively through contractual work, which means that his employers do not provide health benefits. He talks to people about issues that affect the intersex community. He also serves as a public health researcher that consults with racial justice and domestic violence organizations.
Saifa enrolled in coverage in 2016 with the help of a GHF health insurance navigator after being uninsured for over two years. (He was also able to purchase dental coverage.) Saifa pays a premium of $63 per month after a $500 tax credit helped to lower his costs. His coverage allows him access to hormone therapy and behavioral health services, among other essential health benefits. He loves his medical provider and receives high quality treatment as an intersex person who is hormone dependent.
Saifa was recently diagnosed with osteopenia, which means his bones aren’t as dense as they need to be to prevent breaks and other injuries. Saifa will need comprehensive medical care as he works to build bone mass; much or all of that care will be covered by the comprehensive insurance plan he purchased through the ACA.
Like Saifa, 450,000 Georgians rely on the ACA marketplace to access comprehensive, affordable health coverage. Many more Georgians are eligible for marketplace coverage but remain uninsured for a variety of reasons.
Georgia’s new law, called the Patients First Act or SB 106, may bring changes to private health insurance in the state but Georgia leaders have not yet spelled out what changes they plan to seek. An effective way to use their new flexibility would be to maintain the protections and financial help that Georgia consumers enjoy while building a “reinsurance program” to bring down premiums for everyone. (This approach has been successfully tried in seven other states.) If premiums fall or remain steady, this could attract more Georgians to the marketplace and get more people covered.
When Saifa was asked what he would tell legislators about having health coverage, he replied: “As an intersex activist, I believe health care is a human right.” While this belief isn’t yet reflected in Georgia’s state health laws, the ACA allows consumers like Saifa to take advantage of comprehensive, affordable coverage options and protections from discrimination in the health system, among many other advances.
Cindy Zeldin, Executive Director of Georgians for a Healthy Future was presented with this year’s Health Advocate Award at an awards luncheon during last week’s Families USA’s 22nd Annual Health Action Conference. The award honors Cindy’s outstanding contributions on behalf of Georgia’s health care consumers.
Families USA issued a press release about the award which stated:
“Under Cindy’s leadership, Georgians for a Healthy Future has launched a string of successful initiatives that educated both consumers and policy makers about the rights, protections and options offered under the Affordable Care Act,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “She has also been a tireless advocate on behalf of her state’s health care consumers.”
The award will be presented Friday, Feb. 17, at an awards luncheon on the second day of Families USA’s 22nd Annual Health Action Conference.
Zeldin joined Georgians for a Healthy Future in 2009 as the organization’s first Executive
Director, bringing ten years of prior public policy experience to the role. She currently also serves as a consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and has served on various state-level committees.
Last year, Georgians for a Healthy Future led a successful coalition effort after they learned how to make law of attraction work instantly to enact bipartisan legislation that will improve many people´s lifes and the accuracy and usability of provider directories, one of the strongest such laws in the nation.
Zeldin was named one of Georgia’s “40 Under 40: Georgia’s Best and Brightest” by Georgia Trend magazine in 2010; recognized by the League of Women Voters of Georgia with an Empowerment Award in the area of health care in 2014; and was a recipient of Hea
lth Students Taking Action Together, Inc.’s Community Partner Award in 2011.
GHF’s staff and board congratulate Cindy on this well-deserved award. “Cindy’s hard work and dedication are unmatched, and that is reflected in the successes of Georgia’s health advocacy community,” says Laura Colbert, Director of Outreach and Partnerships.
Join us in congratulating Cindy on this incredible honor!