Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s exchange as of the official federal deadline of March 31, state officials said Wednesday. Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, though, said premiums have been received for only 107,581 of those policies, which cover 149,465 people.
The final enrollment day for the ACA insurance exchange was marred by computer glitches. The problem was a frustrating reminder of the much worse technical problems that plagued the website for weeks after it debuted in early October and November.
State insurance officials said Wednesday that 177,668 Georgians have completed applications for coverage in the health exchange as of March 15. That number, reported by health insurers in the state, reflects a recent surge in enrollees from the latest figures released by the federal government.
The Affordable Care Act is complex and controversial. People who are trying to raise awareness about it are in an uphill battle. The problems for healthcare navigators began early, with the bungled October 2013 debut of healthcare.gov, the federal exchange website. At the same time, a controversy over policy cancellations led to a nationwide wave of bad publicity about the ACA. And in Georgia, members of the Republican-led political establishment have remained firmly opposed to the ACA.
More than 38,000 Georgians signed up for coverage in the health insurance exchange in February, according to a federal report released Tuesday. That is slightly down from the number that enrolled the previous month. The Georgia enrollment dip last month was part of a national decline from the previous month, the report showed.
Georgia’s state House passed a bill late Monday designed to push back against the federal Affordable Care Act by preventing state government from helping in the implementation and enforcement of the law also known as "Obamacare."
Georgia lawmakers have now made it to the other side. That is, the other side of so-called Crossover Day, which took place Monday at the state Capitol. They are now three-quarters of the way through the 2014 legislative session, and barreling toward the end, currently scheduled for March 20. Any bill that didn’t pass one of the General Assembly’s chambers Monday won’t have a shot at becoming law in the final ten days of this year’s 40-day legislative session.
The physician pay hike for Medicaid services is finally beginning to reach Georgia doctors, more than a year after it was intended to take effect. The three managed care organizations serving the majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are sending the extra payments to physicians starting this month, according to a schedule released by the Department of Community Health.
The issue of Medicaid expansion drew its first full-scale 2014 General Assembly hearing Wednesday. As expected, the arguments reflected the passions surrounding the Affordable Care Act. A House Judiciary subcommittee voted to pass HB 990, which would require the Legislature to approve any expansion of Medicaid here, rather than leaving the decision up to the governor alone.
Tea Party and other activists opposed to the federal Affordable Care Act packed a small hearing room Monday to listen to the arguments in favor of House Bill 707, sponsored by Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine). The bill would prevent state institutions and employees from implementing ACA provisions.