Updated September 22, 2017
Get Actual Updated Price Estimates For 2017 Georgia Obamacare Plans
Georgia does not run its own state-based health insurance exchange. Instead, residents here use the federally facilitated site at HealthCare.gov. They can also use an independent agent, broker site or company to enroll directly while still taking advantage of cost-saving measures under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Requirement by Law
Despite the political upheaval this year over healthcare reform, it’s important to note that Obamacare’s individual mandate is still in effect. The IRS has stated that it will be enforcing the mandate as well. Under the Affordable Care Act, all eligible Americans – which represents much of the country – must hold qualifying health insurance or face a penalty fee. For this year, the fee is the greater of 2.5 percent of your household’s taxable income or a flat fee of $695 per adult ($347.50 per child under 18). The fee increases with inflation each year.
Enrollment in Georgia
During the 2017 open enrollment period, 493,880 people signed up for health insurance using the exchange, compared to nearly 588,000 last year. The shift downward in enrollment can be contributed to several factors, including uncertainty over the current administration’s stance on healthcare reform and rising premium costs.
While Georgia customers can go straight to the HealthCare.gov website for coverage, it may be beneficial to shop around using a comparison site like this one. Getting current quotes from multiple carriers can help you find a plan that adequately addresses your needs and fits your budget. Brokers can also help explain your options more clearly.
In 2018, Georgia customers will be able to choose from four carriers on the exchange, which is one fewer than last year.
- Ambetter from Peach State Health Plan (owned by Centene)
- Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
Most residents in Georgia will have just one option on the exchange for 2018, but in 14 counties, customers will have two. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, owned by Anthem, will offer coverage in 96 of the state’s 159 counties. Premium rates will increase by an average of about 29 percent assuming cost-sharing reduction payments are guaranteed for next year.
For lower- and middle-income families and individuals – those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level – there are provisions in place for financial assistance, including tax credits and subsidies. Approximately 87 percent of customers in Georgia qualified for premium subsidies in 2017. For more information about federal financial assistance, start the enrollment process today. Open enrollment for 2018 runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017 this year.
The state of Georgia currently does not have a state-run health exchange, where you can get quotes directly. Instead, the federal health exchange will direct you to a number of approved insurance brokers and exchanges. Some of these are privately owned. Others will direct you to publicly held, for-profit companies.
As a basis for comparison, we encourage you to get quotes from other insurance coverage providers. Specifically, you should have health insurance quotes from current providers, as a base for comparison against the federal health exchange-approved providers. This will provide you with a better range of plans, pricing information and overall access to affordable healthcare benefits.
Obamacare in Georgia
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA, or Obamacare, required everyone to have health insurance in 2015. All individuals that were not insured in 2014 had to pay a tax penalty.
The premise behind the ACA is that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare. To ensure that some of the poorest families are able to afford insurance, Obamacare does have a Medicaid expansion provision. Under this provision, the government covers the majority of the costs for qualifying families that are covered by Medicaid.
At first, this provision was to be federally mandated, requiring all states to participate. The Supreme Court later struck down the mandate in its ruling concerning the Affordable Care Act. Now, states have the option of whether to expand their Medicaid program. Georgia is one of those states that have chosen not to do so. Governor Nathan Deal (R) made it clear that he was not in support of Medicaid Expansion in the state.
The majority of working Americans, however, have health insurance provided by their employer. Employer-provided health insurance does satisfy the requirement set forth by Obamacare. For those, however, that do not have such insurance, they may shop on private or the federal marketplace.
Under the Affordable Care Act, there is a federal exchange that has been set up. The individual states also had the option to set up their own exchange. Like some of the other states, Georgia opted not to create a state health exchange. As such, Georgia residents have to shop for health insurance from the federal exchange. The exchange is not insurance. It only provides the options for different insurance providers and plans.