The Union Recorder

Local News

November 16, 2013

Affordable Care Act forum addresses changes

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Baldwin County Democratic Committee held an Affordable Care Act (ACA) forum Thursday evening at Georgia College's Peabody Auditorium.

Democratic Party Chairman Quentin T. Howell said these forums are going on statewide to make sure people understand the true unbiased facts surrounding national healthcare.

State ACA marketplace navigator Harold Weber described the marketplace and current state limits to the system. 

Weber is a Health Navigator with Athens Neighborhood Health Center. During a 33-year career with Prudential and Aetna in systems and health plan management, Weber has seen the rise and fall of the HMO and managed care movements.  

Weber said the old healthcare system has the United States spending 18 percent of its Gross Domestic Product in that area. Other comparable nations spend half that total.

“We are at a position where we can't afford to do that anymore,” Weber said. “We have 50 million people uninsured, but we have a how lot more folks under insured. The U.S. pays more for services, procedures, medical devices and drugs than the rest of the world. We are wasting a trillion dollars.”

Open enrollment at the healthcare.gov marketplace began Oct. 1 and continues through March 31, 2014. Since the health care marketplace opened, the system has been met with a number of questions and website system setbacks.

The marketplace brings in private healthcare providers to offer services to consumers. 

“The Affordable Care Act is trying to address insurance coverage for the uninsured which are generally low income people,” Weber said. 

Ninety percent of people currently uninsured will qualify. Twenty percent of Georgia citizens are uninsured.

The marketplace isn't built for those with good job, Medicare or other insurance setups.

In Georgia, those eligible for the marketplace can choose from up to four healthcare plans with varying benefits and premiums. 

All plans must cover at least 10 criteria including ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization (such as surgery), maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease executive and pediatric services.

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