On November 01, 2015 a new enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance began. The Atlanta Business Chronicle recently reported that Georgia has the 4th-highest uninsured rate since the ACA went into effect, and nearly 16% of Georgians are still without health insurance.
“Since the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 passed, the State of Georgia shamefully ranked the fourth highest uninsured rate in the nation in 2014,” says Ebenezer pastor, Rev. Raphael G. Warnock. “The fact remains that many Georgians are languishing without health insurance. Therefore, I am proud that we have established the Martin Luther King Sr. Community Resources Collaborative to put politics aside and do what is in the best interest of all Georgians.”
Obtaining health insurance is one of the most complicated but important steps that Georgians can take to improve access to the health care they need. Many uninsured Georgians are not informed how to obtain health insurance or how to get the care they need, while avoiding unexpected costs. Also, newly insured Georgians, now insured for the first time, need support and information on how their insurance plans can provide needed benefits and protect them financially. Free resources from local organizations are available to educate Georgians on their healthcare coverage options, to assist them in choosing their insurance plan, as well as how to use their benefits from their current health care plans.
Don Rubin, PhD, a published health literacy expert and advocate explains, "just about everyone has low health insurance literacy. After all, how many people can decipher those Explanations of Benefits they receive from their insurance companies? People who are obtaining insurance for the first time now through the ACA Marketplace need a lot of support to make informed decisions."
According to Yvonne Cower Yancy, SPHR, Commissioner of Human Resources for the City of Atlanta, Georgia, “the City of Atlanta's primary goal is to ensure that we serve as many citizens as possible during the open enrollment period, and we can't do that without the help of key players in the community such as your organizations. We plan to host a variety of events throughout the metropolitan area, provide outreach materials to the Mayor's Centers of Hope, senior high rises, and continue to educate and update our employees on all information to ensure that all local families have the opportunity to receive coverage.”
“We are working with our local partners to inform Georgians that preventive services are now free with their new health insurance options and how financial assistance offered in the marketplace can greatly reduce their monthly premiums,” said Linda Olsen, Georgia Regional Director for Enroll America. “To help hard-working Georgians enroll in health coverage, they can easily make an appointment that fits their schedule, to get free local help using our Get Covered Connector by visiting GetCoveredAmerica.org/Connector.”
Georgians for a Healthy Future provides a strong voice for Georgia consumers and communities on the health care issues and decisions that impact their lives. To achieve this, Georgians for a Healthy Future has designed a suite of materials to help people get enrolled, stay enrolled, and use their coverage effectively. Both the enrollment toolkit and the Health Insurance User’s Manual are available in Spanish. You can find them on our website at healthyfuturega.org/GEAR and we can provide interested groups with hard copies.
The Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC) has long been a voice for improved health for women, LGBT people and Georgia families. In FWHC’s role as Regional Coordinator for the Raising Women’s Voices (RWV) initiative, FWHC has available RWV’s recently published guide “A Woman’s Step-by-Step Guide to Using Health Insurance” a 34-page booklet that was field tested across the country in small focus groups, including a couple groups organized by FWHC in Atlanta, Georgia. The printed guide is being distributed for free by FWHC and is also accessible on the web at MyHealthMyVoice.com.
Juliana Ramirez Rodriguez, FWHC’s Program Coordinator for the Lifting Latina Voices Initiative (LLVI) pointed out that “the Guide is written in easy-to-understand language, emphasizing how women can use their coverage right away by making appointments for “well-woman” checkups and using other preventive services without co-pays and deductibles. It helps both the newly-insured use their existing insurance and the uninsured to make an informed decision about which plan to choose during this enrollment period.” She notes that a culturally-competent, Spanish language version will be available in early 2016.
Ensuring healthcare insurance for underserved Black women fits right into the mission of the Center for Black Women's Wellness, which is to improve the health and wellbeing of black women and their families, and the economic health of communities. We support this initiative by the Feminist Women’s Health Center program for Black Women's Wellness to provide education and materials, which will facilitate outreach, education, and enrollment into the ACA marketplace.
The Health Initiative is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Georgia’s LGBTQ community through education, support, access to care and advocacy. We work directly with LGBT Georgians and LGBT-friendly providers as well as providers who want to be LGBT welcoming. The Health Initiative has a team of Affordable Care Act assisters to assist in Metro-Atlanta, Athens and throughout the state of Georgia to support anyone that needs support.
Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) staff are certified and available to provide direct enrollment assistance through the Health Insurance Marketplace and provide educational workshops to the community on how to use health insurance. In addition, assistances and workshops can be provided in 17 different languages including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Nepali, and Burmese. For more information call (770) 936-0969 or email . Enrollment assistance, workshops, and presentations can be provided for large groups, if requested in advance.