At least 6,859 Georgians now have health coverage through the federal marketplace. That coverage began Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act. That figure, however, may actually be much higher, according to White House Deputy Senior Advisor, David Simas. “You can expect some pretty exponential growth, because that’s what we saw nationwide,” said Simas.
If you missed the deadline, the extended deadline and even the grace period to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, you may be surprised to learn that you still have time to enroll in coverage. The federal government extended the original enrollment deadline from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23 and then even added an extra 24 hour window for consumers to sign up on Dec. 24.
Georgians will be paying about $101 million more in Medicaid costs next year. According to the state Department of Community Health (DCH), the additional expenses are due to changes to the program under the Affordable Care Act.
Joy Kramer of Smyrna has run into the same dead ends with the insurance exchange website as millions of other Americans. An inability to log on. Interminable delays. A busy site. But the technical problems with healthcare.gov are not going to deter Kramer from enrolling, she says. And she is an unabashed supporter of the Affordable Care Act.
Employees from the non-profit group Enroll America had partnered with healthcare navigators to help people sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act Tuesday, but website issues dashed their plans. Instead, Enroll America staffers handed out information and gave presentations to the public at the East Point branch of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.
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.