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More than 1 million in Georiga underinsured

Monday, March 24, 2014 10:23 PM
Last updated Tuesday, March 25, 2014 2:00 AM
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Even with the Affordable Care Act, 1.5 million in Georgia will be without health insurance because the state refuses to expand Medicaid, a nonpartisan group said Monday.

Tom Corwin
Health Reporter
E-mail | 706-823-3213

With the deadline for open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplaces ending March 31, a study found half of those surveyed did not know about the marketplaces and many lacked knowledge about basic insurance components, such as deductibles.

In a report designed to serve as a “baseline” for what progress might be attained through the Affordable Care Act, the Commonwealth Fund released a report that found in addition to 47 million that were uninsured in 2012 there were another 32 million who were underinsured. That was defined as having insurance coverage so poor that the family spent at least 10 percent or more of its income on medical costs.

In Georgia, the 1.8 million uninsured were joined by slightly more than a million underinsured in 2012, the report found. The majority of both groups in Georgia made less than 200 percent of the poverty level or less than $47,100 for a family of four. The report will establish a “baseline” of health care need as coverage under the Affordable Care Act kicks in this year, said Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the group.

“It will be important to continue to monitor trends in the rates of underinsured, in addition to the rates of uninsured, to establish whether the Affordable Care Act is achieving its goals,” he said. “It will be especially important to monitor what happens in states that decline to expand Medicaid.”

The way the act was originally constructed, a federally-funded expansion of state Medicaid programs was to cover most low-income people and therefore the act was to prohibit subsidies through the marketplace for those at federal poverty level to prevent states from dumping Medicaid patients onto the marketplaces.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the part of the act that would allow the federal government to penalize states that did not expand Medicaid, making expansion optional,and 23 states, including Georgia and South Carolina, have since refused. That leaves those under the poverty level, $23,550 a year for a family of four, without access to coverage or underinsured, which the group estimated was 15 million people. In Georgia, that number is close to 1.5 million, said researcher Cathy Schoen.

“There is a lot at stake when we exclude vast numbers of under (age) 65, whether it is children or young adults, from insurance and the opportunity to live a healthy productive life,” she said. “I think over time, this is the optimist, we will see states saying, ‘Wait a minute, this is an economic issue, this is a health issue, this is an attractive-place-for-business-to-come issue, let’s join.’”

More troubling for those trying to enroll people in the Health Insurance Marketplaces, many of those who need them don’t know what they are. A study out of the University of Southern California, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that before enrollment 64 percent of the uninsured had not heard about the marketplaces meant to help them . Only 31 percent knew about the subsidies that might help them pay for coverage, the study found.

Many were not familiar with basic insurance concepts, with only 42 percent familiar with the deductible/premium tradeoff, according to the report. Lack of familiarity is why many did not enroll early or waited, Blumenthal said.

“One of the leading reasons for that is they weren’t sure the plans were right for them,” he said.

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KSL 03/25/14 - 07:43 pm

I do not understand why that is so hard for some people to grasp.

Bizkit 03/25/14 - 08:04 pm
Well Dade you could make the

Well Dade you could make the same argument that the federal govt and Obama's beliefs should not trump your health care decisions either. Besides all women could already get birth control for free or little cost. The govt doesn't care about your health but wants to regulate the population and an industry. Now you have the choice of birth control, but likely with time that choice will be a mandate.

Bizkit 03/25/14 - 08:05 pm
KSL they don't get it at

KSL they don't get it at all-and likely the ones screaming are the ones who would benefit from free health care-talk about the wealthy being greedy. We will see a new greed class-the poor who can't get enough govt assistance. LOL.

deestafford 03/25/14 - 09:29 pm
Let's look at some facts...

Let's look at some facts:

One of the "selling points" of Obamacare was that it would encourage people to get preventative care and would also reduce trips to the ER.

When one looks at the history of Romneycare in Mass. one sees that preventative care has not occurred. ER visits have actually increased since there is little or no cost. Also, when you go to the ER you go only when you "have to" rather than a scheduled visit that interrupts whatever one maybe doing. Preventative care is a mirage in the volume the liberals predict. Once again, ignorance of human nature and seeing the world as they want it to be rather than the way it really is.

Also, the cost of Romneycare has increased so much it is now the number one cost in the state budget.

For some reason the left thinks profits, no matter how slim the profit margin, (something many of them seem to have never heard of) is evil and every company should work only for the "common good" and not be greedy and wanting to make a profit from providing some service or product.

Hobby Lobby IS NOT AGAINST PROVIDING BIRTH CONTROL. They are are against providing the abortion pills AKA the morning after pill. If one listens to Planned Parenthood and the other abortion providers one would think the decision of the SCOTUS would take all contraceptives away from women. That is hog wash. Women will still be able to get birth control pills free or less than $10 per month. The taxpayer should not be paying for a woman to spread her legs at will. Just as it should not be paying for condoms for the males.

whozit 03/26/14 - 01:53 am

First off there is a part of the ACA that begins to phase out funding that has been used by hospitals to pay for indigent care. That money is going away. Second, they are still required to treat those patients, only now with no money coming from the government. Next, Medicare reimbursements are being cut. All of this leaves the hospitals, particularly rural ones, still treating the same number of patients, but with dwindling funds and therefore leading to their shutdown. It was envisioned that everyone would have some type of insurance, Medicaid or from the exchanges so the hospitals would not be as dependent on indigent funding. But that was denied for nothing more than political expediency as the federal government was to cover 100% of the cost for a time and 90% thereafter. The governor chose to play off some future boogieman that does not exist in order to appeal to the Tea Partiers. Now the gerrymandered legislature is fearful of Democrats winning the governorship and are trying their best to take the decision away from the next governor. For those who asked which federal program is administered for less than a private one, try Medicare which has only a 3% overhead compared to close to 30% for private insurance companies.

Bizkit 03/26/14 - 10:50 am
This is the Dem party buying

This is the Dem party buying voters-When half pays no taxes and now free health care too. Who is going to win elections?

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