Health Insurance in Georgia
Confused about your health insurance options in Georgia? Choosing a health coverage plan can be overwhelming but we can help you. All you have to do is provide us with the necessary details in our FORM or give us a call at 1-888-418-8795. Our licensed insurance agent in Georgia can then discuss your insurance options. Consultation is completely free of charge.
How Does Obamacare Work in Georgia?
Obamacare is another name for the ACA, which is formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law requires every eligible citizen and legal resident of the United States to have the basic minimum healthcare coverage. All those who do not have insurance and do not qualify for an exemption will have to pay a tax penalty.
The principle of this law is to ensure that everyone can get access to quality health care. This includes working-class families who, before Obamacare, were unable to afford the premiums charged by insurance companies.
In addition, many of those with pre-existing medical conditions were denied coverage or were charged with extremely high premiums before Obamacare. However, after this law was passed, even those with pre-existing medical conditions were able to get insurance coverage.
To help the less-fortunate get insurance, the law originally had a provision for Medicaid expansion. This provision then allowed the government to cover much of the costs of the health care covered by Medicaid.
Nonetheless, the Supreme Court ruled that states had the option of whether or not to implement the Medicaid expansion. Georgia was one of the states that opted not to expand Medicaid.
Individual states also had the choice to set up their own state health insurance exchange marketplace for qualifying insurance providers and plans. Once again, Georgia elected not to do so. For this reason, if you are a resident of Georgia, you can avail of the insurance plans approved by the federal government by visiting the Healthcare.gov website. There, you may find and compare all the available plans.
During the 2016 enrollment period, a total of almost 588,000 people in Georgia signed up for Obamacare. That was a rise from the year before, when more than 541,000 enrolled.
However, for 2017 the number of enrollees dropped to just 494,000. The reduction of the figure by about 94,000 enrollees represents a 16% decline. This is the 4th largest decline among the states that offer marketplace health insurance through Healthcare.gov.
- Part of the reason for this decline is simply that many are confused and unsure about the future of Obamacare. The new administration in the Whitehouse ran on a platform that promised an immediate repeal of the ACA.
- Another possible reason for the decline is that the new administration decided to withdraw the advertising for the exchange website in the last days leading to the January 31, 2017 deadline. Historically, those last days of the enrollment period see a surge in the number of people signing up to try and beat the deadline.
The pullout of resources and support that would have helped inform the residents in Georgia may have had a more serious effect on the state. That’s because Georgia has very few health insurance “navigators” and guides that help people through the enrollment process.
- There’s also the fact that for many parts of Georgia, there has been very little competition among the insurance providers which has led to high increases in insurance rates.
This is especially true in the rural areas, where residents are unable to afford the higher premiums. According to a spokeswoman for US Senator David Perdue, there is only a single health insurance provider for up to 96 counties in the state. That’s out of 159 counties in total.
Mental Health and Insurance Coverage in Georgia
Obamacare-approved health insurance plans are required to cover the entire costs of several preventive health services, such as vaccinations for children and screening for diseases. These services also cover treatments and counseling for those with mental health and substance abuse issues.
For many of the working-class, such services can only be available through Medicaid. The ACA law allowed for Medicaid expansion, should the state choose to implement it. Thirty states did so, and the decision significantly improved the quality of healthcare for many individuals with mental health issues in those states.
Georgia chose not to expand Medicare and thus, many state residents were unable to receive the treatment and counseling they needed to treat and manage their condition.
In Georgia, almost 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year and about 1.4 million adults in this state suffer from a type of mental illness. Additionally, almost half a million have experienced at least one major depressive episode.
Nonetheless, Georgia ranks among the states with the lowest spending rates from state mental health agencies. The state also has among the worst ratios of the number of mental health professionals to the number of patients. The state has 1 professional for every 1,440 patients. In contrast, Massachusetts has 1 for every 248 patients.
Other Preventive Services
Treatment for mental illnesses is just one of the minimum preventive care benefits offered by any Obamacare health insurance plan. There are numerous other benefits:
- For men. Screening for diabetes (type 2), abdominal aortic aneurysm, HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, obesity, and lung cancer.
- For women. Screening for UTI, anemia, gonorrhea, Rh incompatibility for pregnant women, and gestational diabetes for those who are 24 to 28 weeks pregnant.
- For children. Screening for hematocrit or hemoglobin, autism for infants, alcohol and drug use for teens, dyslipidemia for children of various ages, and behavioral assessments.
All these screenings are just part of what you can get for free when you sign up for an Obamacare-approved health insurance plan.
If you’re looking to purchase health insurance in Georgia and would like to know your options, our licensed insurance agents will be happy to discuss them with you.
Simply fill out our FORM or call us at 1-888-418-8795.