Thursday, August 21, 2014

148,000 Georgians Can Get Health Insurance

ATLANTA, GA (PR)  – Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace doesn’t start again until November 15, but a new report shows that approximately 2.7 Million people may be eligible to sign up before then. Today, Enroll America, the nation’s largest health care enrollment coalition, released a detailed analysis revealing that approximately 148,000 uninsured adults in Georgia are eligible to enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace through a special enrollment period. The report details that those Georgians will likely experience a qualifying life event—such as moving, getting married, giving birth, or gaining citizenship—that triggers a special enrollment period, allowing them to get covered before open enrollment begins on November 15, 2014.

“While we made great strides in getting Georgians covered during the first open enrollment period, there are still many who remain uninsured and unaware of their new options. This includes the 148,000 uninsured Georgians who could be eligible to get covered even now through a special enrollment period,” said Get Covered America – Georgia State Director, Danté McKay.  “Over the past few months, Get Covered America has been focused on making sure that the uninsured in Georgia know that if they experience a qualifying life event like moving, getting married, having or adopting a baby, or losing their health coverage, they might have the unique opportunity to find quality, affordable health insurance. This new analysis will help us to understand just how many folks we’re targeting through our outreach.”

When the historic first open enrollment period ended on March, 31, 2014, over eight million Americans had enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Some of those who missed the deadline and remain uninsured now have the opportunity to get covered through a special enrollment period if they experience a qualifying life event—like moving, getting married, having a child, or gaining citizenship. Insured individuals who lose their coverage—for example, through losing a job or getting a divorce—may also qualify for a special enrollment period.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010-2012 American Community Survey and previous studies, Enroll America estimates that, nationally, almost 7 million Americans ages 18-64 are likely to experience a qualifying life event that could make them eligible for a special enrollment period—2.7 million of whom are currently uninsured, and 4 million of whom who have insurance but will lose coverage over the course of the year.

In Georgia, 147,870 uninsured individuals (8.7% of the total uninsured population) will likely experience a qualifying life event between the two open enrollment periods that may make them eligible for a special enrollment period. The data is broken down based on four common life events:

Moving to a new county: 108,377 or 6.4%
Getting married: 22,226 or 1.3%
Giving birth or adopting a child: 23,972 or 1.4%
Gaining citizenship: 1,780 or 0.1%

In Georgia, Get Covered America staffers continue to work closely with a growing list of partners that include community centers, healthcare clinics, schools, churches and faith-based leaders to make direct consumer outreach and ensure Georgians are aware of special enrollment period eligibility requirements.

Moving is the most common life event that may qualify an uninsured individual for special enrollment in Georgia—as the uninsured are more likely to move than the general population. The data takes into account that some individuals may experience two events at the same time, making the total number of estimated eligible individuals slightly lower than the total of those four categories.

There are also two additional qualifying events that uninsured populations may face: immigrants who gained permanent resident status, and inmates released from prison. While these groups are disproportionately uninsured, these figures are separated from the total estimate because there is no available data to determine their insurance status and marketplace eligibility varies by state and income level.

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