Public libraries have been preparing themselves for what many believe could be a surge in visitors as online health insurance exchanges open under the Affordable Care Act. “In large swaths of Georgia, the only place you can get free internet is at your public library,” said Alan Harkness, director of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries in Columbus.
Georgia’s federally-run online health exchange is scheduled to open at 12:01 Tuesday morning, but the state’s 2 million uninsured might need to wait for enrollment assistance. According to Gary Allen, a media relations representative for Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, only four “healthcare navigators” have been licensed in the state.
On October 1, the Affordable Care Act’s online exchange will open to consumers seeking health insurance. People will be able to go to Healthcare.gov and select the plan they feel is best for them. However, that is what some insurance agents are worried about. “As agents we now have competition,” explained Dan Fleming, a long-time agent in Dekalb County.
Online healthcare insurance exchanges will open in less than two weeks, but some local organizations are still working to prepare their “healthcare navigators.” Those navigators will be trained specialists who can guide consumers through the online insurance marketplace to buy coverage.
Just two weeks remain until the opening of enrollment in the health insurance exchanges, a key component of the Affordable Care Act. Much misinformation and confusion has accompanied the run-up to the Oct. 1 start of open enrollment in the exchange, also called a marketplace. To help our readers understand this new coverage option, Georgia Health News asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a list of frequently asked questions about the health insurance exchanges.
Dozens of supporters of the Affordable Care Act rallied outside the office of Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens Thursday. Democratic state lawmakers and members from organizations like Georgia’s AFL-CIO and Protect Your Care said they were disappointed by Hudgens’s recent remarks about the ACA, commonly called ObamaCare.
National healthcare organization Families USA estimated Tuesday that 803,000 Georgians will be eligible for healthcare tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The federal government will offer insurance premiums help to low and middle income families and individuals. According to Families USA, an individual who makes less than $45,960 per year will qualify.
Medical Center of Central Georgia officials say more than 20 hospitals and 1,500 physicians are gearing up to create a health care alliance. Spokeswoman Megan Allen says health care providers will announce the launch of a health care initiative Tuesday morning.
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce held a conference Wednesday to address upcoming changes to the healthcare industry because of the Affordable Care Act. The insurance mandate included in the law will go into effect on January 1, 2014. That leaves just six months for employers and individuals to research their insurance options.
In his final state of the university speech Thursday, University of Georgia President Michael Adams called for creating a College of Fine Arts and a School of Marine Science. He also said Georgia needs to expand doctor training and biomedical research by the state’s public universities.