A new poll finds 60 percent of Georgians disagree with the state’s decision not to expand the state’s Medicaid program, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.
The health reform law overall, though, fares less well in popularity. According to the survey, conducted by the Schapiro Group in August and sponsored by Healthcare Georgia Foundation, 42 percent of Georgians approve of the ACA and 46 percent disapprove.
The survey also found that the cost of care continues to be an important factor in whether consumers receive health care. Forty-two percent of Georgians said they wanted to seek care at some point, but chose not to do so, up from 33 percent the year before. Cost was the most cited reason for that decision.
And 40 percent of the 400 respondents said they think they have paid more for care over the past year.
“As the troubling trend of increased health care costs continues, Georgians who cannot afford health insurance are simply unable to seek or choosing not to seek the medical care they need,” said Gary Nelson, president of Healthcare Georgia Foundation. full story
In health insurance, to a great extent, price is king.
The monthly premium that people will have to pay for insurance is a pivotal factor in how they pick a health plan – or whether they choose to buy coverage at all.
The apparent impact of the cost of premiums is noticeable in the enrollment patterns in Georgia’s insurance exchange, as seen in the first year of its existence under the Affordable Care Act.
A map of exchange enrollment in Georgia in 2014 shows generally low participation rates in rural South Georgia, even though these counties have high percentages of uninsured residents.
Map of Georgia exchange enrollment in 2014. Credit: Enroll America
For the current plan year, southwest Georgia in particular had high premiums compared with other Georgia regions. In fact, it had among the highest premiums in the nation.
Two southwestern regions had monthly premiums of $345 and $377 for a particular Silver plan for a 21-year-old, Bill Custer, a health insurance expert at Georgia State University, told reporters in Atlanta on Tuesday. full story
A federal agency has awarded $6.9 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 30 community health centers in Georgia that will help expand their primary care services.
That funding was part of $295 million awarded nationally to 1,195 health centers by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Health centers are a key part of how the Affordable Care Act is working to improve access to care for millions of Americans,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in announcing the grants Friday. “These funds will enable health centers to provide high-quality primary health care to more people including the newly insured, many of whom may be accessing primary care for the first time in Georgia.”
The money will go to hiring new staff, including new health care providers; staying open for longer hours; and expanding services, including oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision services. full story
Two nonprofit organizations will divide $3.3 million in federal money to provide “navigators” to help consumers enroll in the Georgia health insurance exchange this fall, the federal government announced Monday.
Navigators provide face-to-face, in-person help for consumers seeking information about the exchanges.
SEEDCO (Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation) will receive nearly $2.2 million, roughly the same as it received last year as a navigator grantee.
The second grantee will be an alliance led by Macon-based Community Health Works and consisting of cancer coalitions and other organizations. It will get $1.1 million.
Nationally, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $60 million in navigator grant awards to 90 organizations in states with federally facilitated and state partnership exchanges. Also known as marketplaces, the exchanges were created under the Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as Obamacare. full story
More than 20,000 Georgians have until next Friday to provide missing information or they will lose their insurance exchange coverage Sept. 30.
The regional administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told GHN on Friday that most of the data discrepancies involve immigration or citizenship issues.
Letters requesting further information were mailed earlier in August to 310,000 people in three dozen states that have their insurance exchange run by the federal government. The exchanges were created under the Affordable Care Act.
Georgia’s total of 20,900 people getting the notices was the third-highest total in the nation, after Florida’s 93,800 and Texas’ 52,700.
Renard Murray, the regional CMS administrator, said the federal agency has been working on getting this information for months, and that as many as seven letters requesting data have been sent to some people. full story