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
A state health agency is budgeting an extra $24 million this fiscal year, and a similar amount next year, to pay for costly hepatitis C drugs in Georgia’s Medicaid program.
The state is also expected to pay $14.1 million more this year, and $37.9 million in fiscal 2016, for lengthening the time between eligibility reviews for Medicaid and PeachCare beneficiaries, as required by the Affordable Care Act.
Those were among the financial projections made in a budget presentation Thursday for the board of the Georgia Department of Community Health, which runs the Medicaid and PeachCare programs in the state, as well as the state employee health plan. The presentation is the beginning of a long budgeting process for the agency.
The Community Health board approved the budget requests.
The hepatitis C drugs are considered breakthrough medications for patients. One drug, Sovaldi, has a 90 percent cure rate for newly infected patients — much better than previously available treatments for hepatitis C. full story
Federal figures show Georgia’s Medicaid and PeachCare enrollment jumped 16 percent since October – the highest percentage increase among states that have rejected the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The Georgia jump greatly exceeds that of the second-highest increase among non-expansion states: 9.5 percent in Montana.
Expanding Medicaid involves extending enrollment in the government program to many low-income people who had not previously been eligible.
As a group, the states not pursuing expansion saw enrollment in Medicaid and their Children’s Health Insurance Program rise by 4 percent. (The children’s program is called PeachCare in Georgia.) States embracing Medicaid expansion saw an average increase in enrollment of 18.5 percent since October, when open enrollment on the health insurance exchanges began.
The enrollment data from the Department of Health and Human Services, released Friday, are part of various studies underscoring the insurance changes created through the ACA. full story
A state health agency says it’s working though the application backlog for Medicaid that recently provoked federal scrutiny.
The Department of Community Health has made decisions on eligibility for up to 70 percent of the 88,854 “account transfers” from Georgia’s insurance exchange, the agency said Friday.
The backlog in Georgia is linked to the thousands of people expected to join Medicaid and PeachCare this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
These new enrollees are not coming in because of expansion of Medicaid, as is happening in some states, because Georgia has declined to pursue expansion. But Georgia is reported to have tens of thousands of people who are already eligible for Medicaid or PeachCare but have not been getting it. Their names have emerged through the enrollment process in the ACA’s insurance exchange.
“We have been in the process of comparing the information in the account transfers to our various eligibility databases for several weeks,’’ said Pam Keene, Community Health spokeswoman, in an email to GHN. “Those who were found eligible are already receiving benefits. Those who were deemed ineligible have been notified and referred to the [exchange] where appropriate.”
An estimated 18,000 of the transfer files processed have been enrolled in Medicaid or PeachCare, Community Health said. But because the account transfers represent families with possibly more than one person eligible, the number enrolled would be higher. full story