Blog (March 2013)
Georgians for a Healthy Future and Georgia Equality are working together over the next several months to engage LGBTQ communities in implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to ensure that those individuals and families know how the new law will affect their access to health care. In an effort to explain how the Medicaid expansion and the creation of the new insurance marketplace, or exchange, will affect LGBTQ individuals, we have released two new publications, “Why Medicaid Expansion Matters to Georgia’s LGBT Community,” and “What Healthcare Reform Means to Georgia’s LGBT Community.” Be sure to check back on our site for more information about healthcare reform and how it will impact Georgia’s LGBTQ community.
For a bill (except for the state budget) to remain viable, it must pass at least one chamber by the end of Day 30, known as Crossover Day. Crossover Day was last Thursday, March 7th. Below is a summary of bills that have passed at least one chamber and that Georgians for a Healthy Future is monitoring, as they could have an impact on Georgia health care consumers if enacted into law.
Legislation impacting health insurance consumer protections and access to insurance
A trio of health insurance related bills are moving through the General Assembly. Consumer health advocates are concerned about these bills because they could restrict information and choices for consumers.
SB 236 would require insurance companies to indicate on statements sent to consumers that provide notice of premium increases the portion of any premium increase that is due to the Affordable Care Act. How this is determined would be left to insurance companies to calculate, and they would not have to disclose their methodology. There would also be no requirement to present information about any other factors leading to premium increases or to notify consumers about any cost savings or benefit enhancements they are receiving as a result of the Affordable Care Act. As such, this bill would result in consumers receiving incomplete and potentially misleading information. SB 236 has passed the Senate and is in the House insurance committee.
HB 198 would require licensing, certification, and training for health benefit exchange navigators and would restrict their ability to assist consumers. While ensuring that consumers receive accurate information from navigators about their health insurance options is an important goal, HB 198’s restrictive language and potentially duplicative training requirements could deter community-focused nonprofits, whose participation in the navigator program will be essential in reaching vulnerable populations who have historically faced barriers to enrolling in health insurance, from becoming navigators or from providing appropriate consumer assistance. HB 198 has passed both the House and and the Senate.
HB 389 would allow insurance companies to terminate, cancel, or non-renew conversion policies or any health insurance policies offered through the health insurance assignment system when guaranteed issue becomes available (with a 90-day cancellation period and a 90-day open enrollment period into new health insurance options made available through the Affordable Care Act). HB 389 has passed the House and is in the Senate Insurance committee.
Legislation that could impact Medicaid and PeachCare beneficiaries
HR 107 would create a joint study committee on Medicaid reform that would study current Medicaid policies and procedures, models in other states, and other aspects of the Medicaid program and report to the General Assembly and the Governor by December 31, 2013 with recommendations. HR 107 has passed the House and is in the Senate Rules committee.
SB 62 would create Federal and State Funded Health Care Financing Programs Overview Committee, a joint committee of the General Assembly. SB 62 has passed the Senate.
SB 163 would direct the Department of Community Health to examine and identify options for reforming Medicaid in Georgia, including but not limited to more use of managed care, with the purpose of bringing savings to the state. SB 163 has passed the Senate and is in the House Health and Human Services committee.