Tuesday marked the beginning of open enrollment for health insurance plans created under the Affordable Care Act. Soon, Georgians will have access to health plans that not only benefit their family’s well-being, but also fit within their budgets.
Georgia’s Republican leaders decided to opt out of creating a state-based market exchange, so Georgians will receive coverage through the federal exchange. Our own insurance commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, has publicly said that he will do “everything in his power to be an obstructionist” to the law.
You won’t find any information about the enrollment process on Georgia’s insurance-commission website, but here are some of the things that you can expect under Obamacare:
• Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you or your loved ones care due to pre-existing conditions.
• Preventative care — like mammograms, flu shots and cholesterol screenings — now are completely covered with any health-care plan.
• Lifetime-care bans, where an insurance company stopped paying for your care after a certain dollar limit, are no more.
• Children will be able to remain covered under their parents’ employer plans until the age of 26.
A new report released a few days ago by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that right here in Georgia, a 27-year-old making $25,000 a year would have access to insurance plans as low as $103 per month.
The same report found that a family of four making $50,000 would have access to plans starting at $132. Consumers will be able to choose from an average of 50 plans so they can pick the one that works best for them and their family.
During the enrollment period, there are many resources available to guide you through the process. The best source of information can be found at www.healthcare.gov. Not only is this the site to search and sign up for the best plan for you and your family through the national exchanges, but it also is a wealth of easy-to-understand information on what the new law means for you.
In addition, several non-profit groups have been put into place to provide assistance to help Georgians understand the enrollment process. You can find a list of organizations at www.healthcare.gov that are here to help and have staff in place to do so.
If you still have questions, reach out to your local elected officials. I know that here in Bryan County, U.S. Rep. Kingston would be happy to help you understand what this new law means, or point you in the direction of some great people who can help.
I want to encourage everyone to check out the above resources and get educated on the options available. If we work together, we can help Georgia move toward a more healthy future.
Conrad is the chairman of the Bryan County Democratic Party