Health Reform Changes Affect Health Insurance Georgia Policies
The health reform bills that have been recently passed are going to change a lot for the health insurance companies. Although no one is sure exactly how that will affect health insurance Georgia plan premiums, many people are concerned that insurance companies will raise prices because they are being required to accept more high risk members. The government has set up regulations that prevent health insurance Georgia companies from denying coverage to qualified Georgia residents, even those with pre-existing medical problems or other health high risks behaviors. The only health risk that is allowed to play a part in premiums is smoking.
Also, the bill requires health insurance Georgia companies to pay many fees and contribute to some new government programs. It is possible that all of this additional expense will flow down and increase health insurance Georgia plan premiums to the members. The insurance providers are being restricted and limited from what rules they can impose on members. Some of these restrictions will benefit members and owners of a health insurance Georgia plan. For example, there will eventually not be annual lifetime limit on benefits. Another benefit will be that the age requirement for children to be included in their parents’ health insurance Georgia plan will be raised, possibly until age 26. This will really help young adults who are currently one of the biggest age groups to go without any health insurance Georgia benefits.
Health insurance Georgia companies will be required to include certain health benefits in their health insurance Georgia plans. These include emergency room services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse care, prescription drugs, and others. At this time, not all health insurance Georgia policies include all of these services. In fact, often, HMO plans do not include mental health and substance abuse, or maternity benefits, for those individuals who predict they will not need these services and wish to have lower premiums. After 2012, this will no longer be allowed, as this is a new federal requirement.
Other changes include that certain preventive services, such as recommended immunizations, preventive care for children and adolescents, and screenings for women, will be required inclusions in all health insurance Georgia plans, and will not require a co-payment. This change may go into effect as early as late 2010. Certainly having preventive care is a big advantage of health insurance Georgia plans. However, if all health insurance Georgia policies include all of these services, and the insurance companies have to assume all of these costs, the premiums will probably be affected. This will be an advantage to those who require these services, but a disadvantage to those who do not.
Not all of the changes will benefit members in the short-term, however. For example, starting in 2014, all U.S. citizens will be required to have coverage, which means that all of Georgia residents will have to purchase their own health insurance Georgia policy unless they get one through their work. The penalty for not having coverage will be an additional tax, which increases every year. For individuals who have chosen to cut corners by not having health insurance Georgia coverage, and then this will be an additional expense.