This guide provides an overview of the Georgia Health Insurance Exchange including the history of the exchange, how the exchange will operate, and exchange information for Georgia residents and small businesses.
Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Introduction
Beginning in 2014, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance coverage for individuals and small businesses will become available through new state health insurance exchanges (also called health insurance marketplaces).
Most importantly, the key tax credits (e.g. the small business healthcare tax credits) and tax subsidies (e.g. individual health insurance tax subsidies) will only be available for coverage purchased through a state health insurance exchanges.
All states have three options for setting up a state health insurance exchange for 2014:
- Build a state-based exchange
- Enter into a state-federal partnership exchange
- Default to a federally-facilitated exchange
Georgia will default to a federally-facilitated health insurance exchange.
Georgia Health Insurance Exchange - History
Originally, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed Executive Order in June 2011 to create the Georgia Health Exchange Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee was to recommend how Georgia should offer a health insurance exchange. The committee released a set of reports recommending a structure for a state-based exchange, however on November 16, 2012 the Governor's office released an announcement that Georgia would default to the federally-facilitated exchange citing cost and lack of federal guidance.
Georgia Health Insurance Exchange - What is It?
The Georgia Health Insurance Exchange will be operated through a federally-run health insurance exchange, also referred to as the Health Insurance Marketplace. Starting in October 2013 Georgia residents will be able to access information about all the plans available through the Exchange. The SHOP Exchange will also be available to small businesses with 100 or fewer employers. Coverage from the Exchange starts in January 2014.
According to an estimate by healthcare.gov, 1,698,880 or 20% of Georgia’s non-elderly residents are uninsured, of whom 1,592,480 (94%) may qualify for either tax credits to purchase coverage in the Marketplace or for Medicaid if Georgia participates in the Medicaid expansion.
Georgia Health Insurance Exchange - What Plans will be Available?
All plans offered through the Georgia Health Insurance Exchange will meet the ACA definition of a Qualified Health Plan (QHP). The plans will be offered by level of coverage for essential health benefits (EHB), to allow consumers to compare plans on an "apples to apples" basis. The four "metal" levels are: Bronze (plan pays 60%), Silver (plan pays 70%), Gold (plan pays 80%) and Platinum (plan pays 90%). More information on the types of plans that will be available, and the carriers offering plans in Georgia, is expected by late summer 2013.
Georgia Health Insurance Exchange - Role of Insurance Professionals & Navigators
The Georgia Health Insurance Exchange will follow federal guidelines for insurance professionals selling policies through the Exchange and for navigators assisting consumers and small businesses.
Insurance professionals will be able to register with the Georgia Health Insurance Exchange and receive any commissions directly from the carriers (using their Exchange ID number and NPN).
The Georgia Health Insurance Exchange navigator program will assist consumers in making choices about their health care options and accessing their new health care coverage, including access to premium tax credits for some consumers. The federal government will run the navigator program in Georgia.