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Letter: Affordable Care Act
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Dear Editor: October 1 marked the beginning of open enrollment for health insurance plans created under the Affordable Care Act. In spite of some confusion with the online enrollment, there are thousands of Georgians who will have access to health plans that not only benefit their family’s well-being, but also fit within their budgets.

Georgia’s Republican leaders decided to opt out of creating a state-based market exchange, so Georgians will receive coverage through the federal exchange. Because our own Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, has publically said that he will do "everything in his power to be an obstructionist" to the law, you won’t find any information about the enrollment process on Georgia’s insurance commission website.

Here are some of the things that you can expect under Obamacare:

• Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you or your loved ones care due to pre-existing conditions.

• Preventative care, like mammograms, flu shots, and cholesterol screenings, are now completely covered with any health care plan.

• Lifetime care bans, where an insurance company stopped paying for your care after a certain dollar limit, are no more.

• Children will be allowed to retain coverage until the age of 26 under their parents’ employer plans.

A new report released recently by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that right here in Georgia, a 27-year-old making $25,000 a year would have access to insurance plans as low as $103 per month. The same report found that a family of four making $50,000 would have access to plans starting at $132. Consumers will be able to choose from an average of 50 plans so they can pick the one that works best for them and their family.

The enrollment period began Oct. 1, 2013 and extends to March 31, 2014 in order to be eligible for the 2014 subsidies. While it seems confusing, there are many resources available to guide you through the process. The best source of information can be found at Not only is this the site to search and sign up for the best plan for you and your family through the national exchanges, it is also a wealth of easy-to-understand information on what the new law means for you.

In addition, several non-profit groups have been put into place to provide assistance to help Georgians understand the enrollment process. You can find a list of organizations at that are here to help, and have staff in place to do so.

In an effort to help make the Obamacare information understandable, there will be a community forum Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 at the Rockdale Career Academy. Expected panelists include: Department of Health & Human Services (depending on the government status), UGA Family and Community Services, AARP, AFL-CIO, Oakhurst Medical Center and Enroll America.

If you still have questions, reach out to your local elected officials. I know that here in Rockdale County, Georgia State Representatives Dee Dawkins-Haigler, Tonya P. Anderson, Pam Dickerson, Pamela Stephenson and Senator Ron Ramsey would be happy to help you understand what this new law means, or point you in the direction of some great people who can help.

I want to encourage everyone to check out the above resources, attend the forum, and get educated on the options available. If we work together, we can help Georgia move toward a more healthy future.


Doreen L. Williams

Chair, Rockdale County Democratic Party