More Affordable Health Insurance for Georgians
While some have said the current administration and the Republican presidential candidates have yet to say anything of value on health insurance reform, many Republican Governors are doing something for the uninsured and underinsured in their States.
Most notably California’s Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has put forth a comprehensive health insurance reform plan, and now Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue also a Republican, has announced his proposal that would help those in his state without affordable health insurance, obtain health insurance coverage. The proposed measure is specifically targeted at making it easier for small businesses in the state to acquire adequate affordable medical coverage for themselves and their employees.
Under the Governor’s proposal the state would provide subsidies for health insurance for small businesses and their workers. Through the initiative, called the Health Insurance Partnership for Georgia, the state would provide fifty million dollars in funding to provide health insurance to low income wage-earners employed by small businesses. The measure is specifically designed to provide affordable health insurance for hourly employees in the retail and hospitality sectors. Under the plan employees with a yearly income level under 300% of the FPL (Federal Poverty Level) would be entitled to the state health insurance subsidies. A small business as defined by the program would be any business operating in the state with less than fifty employees.
The program offers qualifying employees some health insurance options. They could join the same health insurance program that is offered to state employees, they can select a lower cost health insurance plan with more basic coverage, or they may choose a high-deductible healthcare plan coupled with a health savings account. Unlike proposals in other states the Governor’s plan does not require that small businesses join the program. The Governor expects that participating businesses would pay a portion of the bill, as would their employees. Furthermore, Perdue said that the plan would not allow a small business to cancel their existing health insurance coverage to take advantage of state-provided insurance. The goal is to get those businesses that have not been able to provide affordable group health insurance benefits for their employees to do so. A spokesperson for the Governor’s office said full details of the plan are expected to be disclosed over the next several months.
The proposed initiative will require allocation of the funds through approval by the state Legislature. Data indicates that almost 400,000 of the state’s uninsured residents would qualify under the plan.