Georgia Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act will change the way many Georgians access health insurance. Starting this year, individuals must maintain health insurance through an employer-provided plan or other source. To make it easier to comply with this mandate, several states and the federal government have established insurance exchanges, also called marketplaces, where policies can be obtained.
In Georgia, the Affordable Care Act has met some resistance from local government. In November 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Georgia would not establish its own exchange and would not expand Medicaid coverage in the state. Some residents, however, have found they can access many high-quality plans on the national marketplace during open enrollment.
What is the Georgia health insurance marketplace?
A health insurance marketplace is a government-sponsored website where people can browse and purchase insurance plans. Under the ACA, each state had the choice of establishing its own exchange or partnering with the government to offer insurance through the federal site. Georgia is one of 27 states that chose to use the federal marketplace, located at HealthCare.gov. Residents can shop for policies and sign up during open enrollment.
To participate in the exchange, you will need to register on the site and answer a few basic questions about your income and lifestyle. This information, coupled with your location and family size, will match you with the best plans to suit your needs. Once you’ve had a chance to compare plans, you can purchase an appropriate Georgia health insurance policy from an ACA-compliant insurer.
Do you qualify for a health insurance subsidy in Georgia?
To help minimize the cost of insurance, tax credits are available to individuals with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty level. Eligibility for subsidies will typically be based on 2013 poverty level limits, and eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP will typically be based on 2014 guidelines. The tax credit, which comes in the form of a subsidy, is paid directly to the insurance company on your behalf to reduce your monthly insurance premium. As your income increases, the amount of the subsidy available to you will drop.
Single adults with incomes between $11,490 and $45,960 may qualify for a subsidy. For a family of four, that range is between $23,550 and $94,200.
Health insurance companies participating in Georgia
Here are a few health insurance companies participating in the exchange for Georgia.
- Alliant Health Plans
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia
- Ambetter from Peach State Health Plan
- Humana Insurance Company
Health care for low-income families
Georgia’s government has not yet supported a Medicaid expansion. This means low-income adults generally do not qualify for Medicaid coverage in the state. However, families with minors can still obtain health care for the children if they fall within the income threshold.
Children whose families earn below $1,427 per month can qualify for Medicaid. Infants can qualify if their family income is below $1,963. Additional health benefits are available to children whose families earn less than $2,365 through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known in the state as PeachCare.
Georgia health and coverage statistics
Georgia population (2013): 9,992,167
Population 65 and older (2012): 11.5 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 77.2 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 1,380,000
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 1,102,700
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 1,859,000
Overall state health ranking: 38
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Georgia health insurance resources
Georgia Department of Public Health: http://dph.georgia.gov/
Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner: http://www.oci.ga.gov/
Division of Aging Services: http://aging.dhs.georgia.gov/
Federal Medicare website: https://www.medicare.gov/