The Union Recorder

Local News

November 16, 2013

Affordable Care Act forum addresses changes

(Continued)

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Plans may offer additional coverage.

At present, marketplace insurance carriers available to Georgia residents are Blue Cross Blue Shield, Alliant Health Plans, Ambetter from Peach State Health Plan, Humana Insurance Company and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia.

Not all these providers are available in each 159 Georgia counties.

• Georgia is one of 24 states not expanding Medicaid under the ACA

The federal government agreed to pay 100 percent of each state's Medicaid expansion for the first three years under the ACA.

“The thinking by those designing the law was that every state would take the Medicaid expansion,” Weber said. “You can't force a state to spend money on a federal program unless they agree. That meant a state could choose not to take it.”

Georgia argued a $4.5 billion cost over 10 years wasn't worth the expansion.

Weber said over 600,000 would be eligible for Medicaid coverage if Georgia accepted.

“If you provide coverage for that many people, you are going to create 30,000 new healthcare jobs in Georgia,” Weber said. “The multiplier effect would take that job total to 70,000. If you take all the money the state would save with the expansion plus the added tax revenue, you greatly offset the $4.5 billion. Georgia would actually make money.”

State hospital organizations are speaking out in favor of the ACA expansion, according to Weber. The hospitals will miss out on that federal funding otherwise.

• Major life event

If an individual signs up for insurance coverage through the marketplace, but then gets a job with benefits, the person will not experience a lapse in coverage.

“You have to take the coverage with your employer and move out of the marketplace,” Weber said. “You'll have continuous coverage one way or the other.”

The individual must notify their provider of any life-changing event. 

The ACA forbids any exclusion based on preexisting conditions. If a person has a life-changing event such as job loss, they can enter the insurance marketplace at any time.

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