Healthcare Marketplace opens for business Oct. 1
Jennifer Ffrench-Parker | 9/27/2013, 6:03 a.m.
The Healthcare Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act opens for business on Oct. 1.
That is the day that more than 40 million uninsured Americans, including more than 803,000 Georgians statewide, will begin enrolling for affordable health insurance that takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
They will have six months, through March 2014, to enroll for the exchanges at www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/bystate/ga.html.
The start of enrollment sets in motion the 2010 Affordable Care Act that President Barack Obama says will transform the nation’s entire health system – making it fairer, less costly and more effective at providing care.
In Georgia, there will be about 50 qualified plans available to the uninsured and for middle- and moderate-income people who lack meaningful employer-sponsored health coverage. Financial help will be available to four-member families with annual incomes below $94,200 and individuals with annual incomes below $45,960.
Premiums will range from $103 monthly with tax credits for a 27-year-old making $25,000 per year to $1,322 monthly for a family of four with an annual income of $50,000.
With its one-stop shop for health insurance coverage, consumers will be able to find out whether they qualify for premium assistance; compare plans side by side based on pricing, quality and benefits; and buy coverage.
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, whose 4th Congressional District includes parts of DeKalb County, said he is doing everything he can to explain and help implement the law so that his constituents and the rest of the American people can finally have affordable, quality and accessible health care.
“The Affordable Care Act is about securing affordable, quality and accessible health care as a right, not a privilege, for every American; yet it is also about wellness and prevention, economic security and entrepreneurship, the well-being of working families and the strength of the middle class,” he said.
Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, no one, including 4.3 million Georgians, can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, and qualified consumers will get help paying for their coverage.
Georgia, which stood to receive $1 million in grants for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of its Health Insurance Marketplace, is one of 36 states that have refused to participate in the program.
Because of that refusal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will run Georgia’s plan.
On Sept. 25, HHS released a study showing that premiums nationwide will be about 16 percent lower than originally expected and that about 95 percent of the eligible uninsured live in states with lower-than-expected premiums before taking into account financial assistance.
Six out of 10 eligible individuals – who are uninsured today – will be able to find coverage for $100 or less per month along with premium tax credits and Medicaid coverage.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said they are excited to see that rates in the Marketplace are even lower than originally projected.
“In the past, consumers were too often denied or priced-out of quality health insurance options, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers will be able to choose from a number of new coverage options at a price that is affordable,” she said.