Kemp’s plan to block use of the healthcare.gov website, where people can shop for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, has the potential for a bigger impact on Georgia’s health insurance landscape than any event in years. Critics say it could result in up to 100,000 Georgians winding up without health insurance. The Kemp administration counters that it would add perhaps 25,000 Georgians to the insured rolls.
Nothing would change about the plans that are actually available. But the 400,000 residents of Georgia who enrolled in health insurance on healthcare.gov would have to find another place to shop and enroll.
Some features of the healthcare.gov website are that it shows shoppers only plans that comply with the law offering “essential health benefits” such as prescriptions and psychiatric coverage, and that it automatically applies the federal subsidy that people would receive, thus showing shoppers what they would actually pay for a given plan. Then it puts the plans and prices in one place where shoppers can compare.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has asked the federal government to allow the state to block access to the federal Affordable Care Act exchange website, healthcare.gov. Critics say that would be an obstacle to people signing up for health coverage. Kemp says it would redirect users to more choices and tie them more seamlessly into the state's health care options. (PHOTO by Bob Andres / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Under Kemp’s proposal, all those insurance plans and subsidies would still be available to Georgians. But when people try to go to healthcare.gov they’d be diverted and given contact information for private industry sellers. Those might be the insurance companies themselves, or private agents or brokers. The Kemp administration has not yet confirmed which.
For his part, Kemp says private agents and brokers have an incentive to offer more plans than just the robust ones offered on healthcare.gov. If someone wants less health coverage for a shorter time, for example, they could easily find that instead from some private agents.
Kemp and his aides believe coverage would increase because people would have more choices and because private companies would work harder to sign people up. Critics contend that private agents have an incentive—a bigger fee—to sell weak plans to people who don’t understand the market.
The correct email address to comment on the Georgia proposal is email@example.com . The department asks that people write “Georgia Section 1332 waiver comments” in the subject line of the email.
More information about the waivers can be found by going to the federal cms.gov website for 1332 Innovation Waivers, and scrolling down under “Georgia.”
Anyone who has gone to the website before and clicked on the web address while it was incorrect should not do that again without first clearing their browser cache. Another way to get around the old malfunction is simply to hand-type the correct address in your email, letter by letter.