Health

Georgia Insurance Navigator Is Optimistic About Open Enrollment This Year

A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau says Georgia has the third-highest rate of people without health insurance.
A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau says Georgia has the third-highest rate of people without health insurance.
Credit Jeff Chiu / Associated Press, FIle
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The group tapped to help Georgians sign up for Obamacare health insurance says it isn’t worried about recent efforts from the Trump administration to knock the law off balance.

Last year, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services cut funding for “navigators” who help people enroll in coverage plans to $10 million dollars.

The Trump administration has also shortened the open enrollment period and has openly supported a legal effort to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

“We work with what we have to work with, and we try to do the best job possible to help the people that we serve,” said Duane Kavka of the Georgia Primary Care Association. “We try to work within the system, whatever the system is that we’ve been given.”

In August, Kavka’s group was awarded $550,000 federal dollars last month to help Georgians choose health plans in the Obamacare marketplace. It’s about half the money the group received in previous years.

Though the grants were announced last month, the group has only now been given the all-clear from the feds to discuss their strategies for the upcoming open enrollment period.

The Georgia Primary Care Association, which represents health clinics all over the state, received “navigator” funding beginning in 2015, but didn’t make the cut last year.

Kavka believes his group was tapped again this year because of their extensive network of health care providers.

He says they run some 225 clinics in 120 Georgia counties, which already serve a large number of people without insurance.

“The uninsured are part of the group that we deal with on a regular basis,” he said. “We have more opportunity to see these people just as they’re coming into a clinic. We can see if they’re eligible for coverage under the program.”

A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau says Georgia has the third-highest rate of people without health insurance.

And there’s a chance more people might find plans that fit them this year. After some wild times, the state’s Obamacare insurance marketplace shows signs of settling.

Open enrollment for coverage in 2020 begins Nov. 1.