Coventry Health Insurance of Georgia (GA) | Health Insurance Georgia | The Fight for Georgia Health Insurance Freedom

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The Fight for Georgia Health Insurance Freedom

Although the U.S. Congress has passed the health reform acts, there is still some leeway for states to choose whether to participate in some of the changes or not. For example, states were given until April 30th to decide whether they would head up Georgia health insurance pools. The health reform acts stated that a high risk Georgia health insurance pool be set up in Georgia. According to Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Georgia governors and elected insurance commissioners needed to respond by April 30th, whether they would implement these Georgia health insurance high risk pools. The current Georgia Insurance Commissioner, John Oxendine, has been the first politician to announce that he will not participate in this endeavor. This means that the federal government will be overseeing the implementation of the Georgia health insurance high risk pool, and will oversee the distribution of federal funds. Mr. Oxendine has stated that he believes the Georgia government does not have the funds for this Georgia health insurance risk pool, and therefore, Georgia cannot implement this program. The federal government has allocated some money towards the Georgia health insurance high risk pool. However, some officials believe the tax increases will start immediately, but most of the benefits to taxpayers do not become effective until 2014. Therefore, tax payers will suffer financially before they see any benefits. Therefore, the Georgia government would be responsible for a lot of up front costs that it cannot afford, according to John Oxendine. Since Georgia has the option to decide whether to operate the Georgia health insurance high risk pool, or to let the Department of Health and Human Services carry out the program, this is the decision John Oxendine has made. However, the Georgia governor still has the option of making a different decision. Sonny Perdue has agreed with John Oxendine's viewpoint, but has not yet made an official decision, as of this time.


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Some people believe that Mr. Oxendine's decision is being made for political reasons. John Oxendine is running for governor in the fall, and some people believe this opposition to the Georgia health insurance high risk pool program is just part of partisan politics. There is now debate, however, about these Georgia health insurance high risk pools and Mr. Oxendine's decisions. Some have estimated that the new regulations, including the Georgia health insurance high risk pool, will cost Georgia residents $500 million per year. This is the main reason against Georgia heading up the Georgia health insurance high risk pool program.

Among the benefits from health reform, according to supporters, is that the federal deficit is projected to be reduced by $1 trillion in the coming years. Medicaid will be expanded, which will benefit Georgia tremendously. That is because about half a million Georgia residents who do not have Georgia health insurance will be covered, with federal funds for three years. This change is expected to occur in 2014. Then Georgia will start contributing 10% a year, after 2020. Another benefit to our state is that more people will have Georgia health insurance to pay for emergency room visits. This is a cost that usually gets passed down to all Georgia residents, so it should result in fewer taxes for all. There will also be tax credits to individuals and small businesses to help them afford Georgia health insurance for themselves and their employees.

There is a lot of debate right now regarding John Oxendine's decision and no one is sure how the Georgia health insurance high risk pool will work.

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