The Biden administration stopped Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to move Georgians away from purchasing health insurance coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplace later this year. ABC News reports Gov. Kemp had planned to have residents shop for coverage through individual insurance companies or private brokers. The Trump administration approved this “waiver” back in November 2020, saying the move would “increase innovation from the private sector.”
Critics of this plan argue private companies do a poor job explaining pitfalls in plans and comparing their competitors’ options, causing a lot of people to be dropped from coverage, and breach federal rules around insurance waivers. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, more than 400,000 Georgians utilize the ACA healthcare marketplace.
A report by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wrote to Georgia that a research company contracted by the government, Acumen, had found Georgia’s plan “would result in a drop in health insurance enrollment by Georgia residents of 4.4-8.4% in 2023, and a continuing drop of 8.4% every year from 2024-27.”
From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“Any plan that would meaningfully disrupt health insurance for 700,000 folks should be carefully considered,” Colbert said in an emailed statement.
“Georgia leaders are not giving Georgians the courtesy of careful consideration when they refuse to answer questions about their plan to separate from healthcare.gov, and disregard evidence that it will mean some hard-working Georgians lose their coverage. Under these circumstances, it’s reasonable for the federal government to hit the brakes,” she added.
Friday’s decision by the Biden administration will have no immediate effect on people who have bought insurance through the open marketplace exchange. The state has until July 28 to submit an updated plan detailing how it would guarantee a smooth transition for Georgians and avoid the projected drop in enrollment. Kemp’s other plan is to expand Medicaid to the poor, but only if they meet a work requirement. The Biden administration has already blocked that with a court challenge pending.