The average cost of a 3-day hospital stay is a shocking $30,000.
If you are sick or involved in an accident and don’t have insurance, unexpected medical costs can leave you with crippling debt. This is why it’s so important to have a good health insurance plan.
If you have questions about purchasing health insurance in Georgia, you’re not alone. Keep reading while we break down 6 commonly asked questions about enrolling in a healthcare plan in the State of Georgia.
1. What Type of Health Insurance Marketplace Does Georgia Have?
Like many other states, Georgia uses the federal health insurance marketplace. This marketplace, also called the exchange, is available to those who don’t qualify for insurance through an employer. This includes those who are self-employed, who are employed by small businesses who don’t have health benefits, and those who have retired but don’t yet qualify for Medicare.
Interestingly, the State of Georgia applied for a 1332 waiver under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so big changes could be coming in the near future.
A 1332 waiver allows states the option to change the way the ACA is implemented in their state. Such changes cannot cause people to lose coverage or the federal government to occur any additional expenses. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved this waiver in November 2020, under the Trump Administration.
However, the waiver is currently under review by the Biden administration. If this waiver is implemented, the exchange in Georgia would be eliminated in 2023. Instead, consumers would purchase coverage through agents, brokers, and directly from insurance companies.
2. Which Insurers Offer Coverage in Georgia?
For 2021 plans, there were six insurers offering coverage in Georgia through the marketplace. For 2022, there will be 11 options, as five additional insurers will be adding plans. The 11 insurers offering coverage in 2022 are:
- Bright Health
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
- Ambetter from Peach State Health Care Plan (Centene)
- Friday Health Plans
The plans available to you will depend on where you live because service areas differ between insurers. Most residents of Georgia will have the choice of a plan from at least three different insurers.
3. When Can I Enroll in a Plan?
You’ll need to enroll in a plan during open enrollment. The open enrollment period for a 2022 health insurance plan is coming up quickly. This period will run from November 1st through December 15th.
If you need to enroll in coverage or make changes to your plan outside of the enrollment period, you’ll need what is called a qualifying life event.
4. Do I Need a Broker?
Technically, no. You can apply and enroll in a plan by yourself. However, there are many benefits of working with a broker.
Most people don’t fully understand their options and how the ACA affects health insurance in Georgia. Many online health insurance marketplaces are notorious for their technical flaws. You can get around this by working with a licensed agent or broker.
A broker who understands health insurance options in Georgia can help you compare your options by evaluating coverages and plan prices. They can also recommend plans that will work better for you than others and help you determine whether you qualify for any subsidies.
They can help you with the application process and make sure you get the best deal.
The best part? Working with an agent or broker is free.
5. Can I Purchase a Short Term Health Insurance Plan?
The State of Georgia doesn’t have its own regulations when it comes to short-term health insurance plans. This means that the federal regulations for these plans apply.
Insurance companies operating in Georgia can offer short-term plans. The initial terms can be up to 364 days and the plans can be renewed for up 36 months. Insurers also have the option to offer plans with shorter durations and no potential for renewal.
6. How Can I Save Money on Health Insurance in Georgia?
One of the most common questions we get asked about purchasing health insurance in Georgia is, “How can I save money?”
This is a great question because there are things you can do to reduce the cost of healthcare. The most important thing you can do is make sure you understand your options. The best way to do this is to compare rates directly.
When you compare plans that offer the same coverage side by side, you can choose the one that will cost you less. When you’re shopping for health insurance, you have to take into consideration whether you want to pay more upfront in premiums or down the line when you actually need care.
Plans with lower premiums usually have higher deductibles and coinsurance amounts. On the other hand, plans with higher premiums come with lower deductibles and the insurance company will pay more when you need to use your plan. The type of plan that works for you depends on how much care you expect to need. If you’re young and healthy, you might opt for a plan with lower premiums and a higher deductible.
If you have chronic medical issues and take prescription medications, you might actually save money by opting for a plan with higher premiums. You’ll save more on the cost of care overall. You should also consider whether you want a plan that offers the option of an HSA or FSA. Using these accounts in conjunction with a high deductible plan can help keep costs down.
Compare Rates for Georgia Health Plans
Because of the high costs of medical care in the United States, having health insurance is a must. Even if you’re healthy, you never know what could happen. You don’t want to be stuck with an uninsured hospital bill if an accident does occur. Fortunately, you can find a plan that works with your budget and provides the coverage you need.
If you’re shopping for health insurance in Georgia, we are here for you. Click here to compare quotes today for free.