The state government will be operating the exchange on its own for the first time.
Governor Brian Kemp (R) has signed a bill into law that will have the Georgia state government taking over its own health insurance marketplace for individual coverage for the first time.
Among the reasons the governor signed the bill is to boost competition and give consumers options.
According to Governor Kemp, who spoke at a ceremony at the state Capitol, this new law will provide state residents with a better way of “knowing and comparing their health care insurance options,” while also bringing “further competition to the field.”
“Georgians know their needs and those of their families best,” he added.
This new law is among three large shifts that have the potential to impact hundreds of thousands of Georgia residents whose health insurance coverage is subsidized through the federal and state governments.
In July, Kemp’s administration also intends to launch a partial Medicaid expansion to ensure that certain able-bodied adults below the poverty line but who are attending school or are working will still be able to have the coverage they need.
Moreover, as is the case with all states across the country, Georgia is also reviewing the Medicaid recipient eligibility for the 2.4 million people who have had coverage through that program throughout the pandemic. Throughout the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic, a law stood in place stopping the state from removing any Medicaid beneficiaries.
Kemp signed Senate Bill 65, putting it into effect and allowing the state to have its own health insurance marketplace.
As such, Senate Bill 65 has reversed a previous law stopping the state from running its own exchange. That law had been a component of a strategy to halt Georgia from taking part in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at all. However, the federal government has been providing coverage to nearly 900,000 Georgians who have enrolled for coverage through the ACA open enrollment period via Healthcare.gov.
Many state residents whose incomes are higher than the poverty line are able to purchase policies with federal premium subsidies, so there is very little monthly cost, though co-pays can be notable. Higher income state residents can also purchase policies on the individual market as well as the federal health insurance market.