New Health Care Law Good for Georgians and Their Wallets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GBPI releases new policy report on the Affordable Care Act. Media interviews with Director of Health Policy Timothy Sweeney are welcomed.

ATLANTA (March 27, 2012) – National health care reform is expanding access to health care coverage for thousands of Georgians, particularly young adults and people previously denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, a new analysis by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute shows.

The Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2009, will save Georgia taxpayers at least $100 million in health care costs through FY 2013.

The law’s benefits are expected to multiply by the time it is fully implemented in 2014, allowing most Georgians who now don’t have health insurance to get coverage.

“Georgians who were previously denied health insurance have new coverage options, and young adults can now remain on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26,” said Timothy Sweeney, director of health policy for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

In the long run, the benefits of the law will far outweigh the modest costs Georgia will incur, especially compared to what the state would spend without it. Millions of Georgians will have new health insurance options, with fewer restrictions, at affordable prices.

GBPI’s report, Affordable Care Act Benefits Georgia: Health Care Law Expands Coverage, Saves State Money, highlights several key initiatives and new coverage options and examines the impact they have on the state budget. Most notably:

  • Nearly 1,500 Georgians with pre-existing medical conditions who would otherwise be unable to get insurance now have coverage. The interim benefits will last until 2014, when insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to such people. Drug coverage assistance for some chronically ill patients will save the state budget more than $1.2 million by the end of the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
  • Privately-insured Georgians, along with State Health Benefit Plan members, have greater access to preventive health services without a co-payment and can keep their children on their insurance until they are 26 years old. The second provision has helped to insure approximately 85,000 Georgians between the ages of 19 and 25 who previously did not have insurance.
  • The State Health Benefit Plan received nearly $60 million to help offset the cost of covering early retirees – money that otherwise would have come from state employees, teachers, school districts, and the state.
  • Georgia expects to receive $57.3 million in extra federal funds to serve more patients in home and community settings instead of in costlier nursing homes and other institutions.
  • The State Health Benefit Plan will save about $20 million each year because many public workers will be able to enroll their children in Georgia’s PeachCare program. This also saves money for employees and their families.
  • Georgia is overhauling its outdated Medicaid eligibility system and creating a more efficient and streamlined enrollment process for low-income Georgia, using $90 million in federal funding.
  • Georgia expects to receive $300 million in 2013 and 2014 to increase payments to doctors and other health care providers who provide primary care services to Georgians on Medicaid.

The report also looks ahead to additional benefits the law will bring to Georgia when it is fully implemented in 2014.

“Ultimately, the Affordable Care Act will help most of the nearly 2 million Georgians who don’t have health insurance to finally get coverage, and will bring much needed federal resources to Georgia’s health care providers to serve them. Without this law, the one-in-five Georgians who lack coverage would continue to face too many barriers to needed health care services,” said Sweeney.

For more information download GBPI’s report, Affordable Care Act Benefits Georgia. Health Care Law Expands Coverage, Saves State Money .

 

Media Contact:
Utoia Wooten
uwooten@gbpi.org
404.420.1324 ext. 109

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About the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

GBPI is the state’s leading independent, nonpartisan nonprofit engaged in research and education about the fiscal and economic health of the state of Georgia. GBPI provides reliable, timely analysis of Georgia’s budget and tax policies, and promotes greater state government fiscal accountability, improved services and an enhanced quality of life for all Georgians.

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