Blog (September 2011)
As part of our ongoing Building a Healthy Georgia campaign, this week Georgians for a Healthy Future, the Partner Up! for Public Health campaign and HealthSTAT were in Athens at the University of Georgia for The Role of Future Public Health Professionals and Public Health Policy-making. It was a conversation all about public health—the education, training and advocacy of those in the field and how the next few years will be particularly critical in determining the future of our health care system. (more…)
Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee Issues Interim Report
The Governor’s Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee, charged with determining whether Georgia should establish a state-based health insurance exchange, held its fourth full committee meeting this morning. The committee heard reports from each of the active subcommittees: governance, operations and finance, insurance markets, and contingency plans. The committee also issued an interim report to the Governor, which was released today. Final recommendations are due to the Governor on December 15th of this year per the Executive Order issued by the Governor earlier this year. The interim report is available here.
Last week, we sent an alert asking you to add your voice to our effort to ensure that exciting new health insurance standards that provide increased transparency and value for health care consumers, known as medical loss ratio rules, remain strong in Georgia. Your response was overwhelming!
Thanks to your strong support, Georgians for a Healthy Future and Georgia Watch are proud to announce that we jointly submitted public comments on behalf of 17 Georgia organizations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting that these new standards go through as planned. You can read our public comments here.
Last Thursday, Georgians for a Healthy Future, the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, Partner Up for Public Health and the Georgia Rural Health Association returned to Butler, Taylor County for our second symposium in our Building a Healthy Georgia campaign. The event focused on workforce and economic development, the value of access to care and the importance of public health. Local community leaders, elected officials, key stakeholders, health care professionals and members of the general public brought their expertise and passion to the conversation and helped highlight local challenges in having a readied workforce and a healthy community. We also discussed how the health of our communities means more than just access to care–it also means fiscal health. We were energized by the level of engagement and interest in working collaboratively to address our most pressing issues in the state and we look forward to continuing the dialogue!
Beginning in 2012, Georgia consumers who purchase individual health insurance policies will have access to more information about how their premium dollars are being spent AND will be eligible for rebates if their insurance company fails to provide sufficient value for the premium dollar.
These new standards, known as medical loss ratio (MLR) rules, are part of the Affordable Care Act and are designed to spur insurance companies to operate more transparently and to ensure that consumers get the most value for their premium dollars. Consumers will receive rebates if their insurance company fails to spend at least 80 percent of collected premiums on medical care or quality improvement activities, as compared to profits, administration, and marketing. It is estimated that Georgia consumers will receive approximately $42 million in rebates over the next three years.
At the end of July, the Department of Community Health (DCH) awarded the Medicaid redesign assessment contract to Navigant Consulting. The purpose of the redesign process is to analyze options to manage Medicaid and PeachCare financing, as well as explore improvements in the delivery of affordable, quality, health care for the programs and their recipients. As part of the contract, Navigant will hold up to 30 stakeholder focus groups across the state, in cities yet to be announced. Part of the state environmental scan, the intent of these focus groups is to provide a forum for Georgia-specific input from providers, other agencies, advocates, and others affected by Medicaid and PeachCare to provide useful information to both Navigant and DCH as this process unfolds. If you or your organization would like to participate in these focus groups, you can submit an application online here. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, September 13th.
Georgia’s Department of Community Health (DCH) recently received two federal grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to improve outreach and enrollment for Medicaid and PeachCare as well as improve the public health infrastructure in Georgia. The first grant, worth $2.5 million, will allow DCH to use technology solutions to better coordinate enrollment and renewal in Medicaid and PeachCare programs. The second grant, worth $499,738, will go to strengthening public health infrastructure for improved health outcomes and to help train and educate public health workers. To learn more about these grants, click here and here.