Georgia’s 1332 Waiver Proposal Puts Children and Families at Risk of Losing Coverage

In 2020, Georgia submitted a waiver under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to allow the state to exit HealthCare.gov; the Trump Administration approved the request in November of last year. Under this proposal, the 500,000 Georgians who use the federal marketplace every year to enroll in private health plans and Medicaid would instead be forced to find insurance through an assortment of private brokers and insurance companies.

After months of back and forth with the state, the Biden Administration is currently reviewing the waiver approved under the previous administration and has reopened a 60-day comment period. This new comment period provides the opportunity to weigh in on the waiver, potentially preventing Georgia from eliminating Healthcare.gov which would result in thousands losing coverage or enrolling in inadequate coverage.

How will this impact children and families?

Eliminating HealthCare.gov will only make it harder for families to enroll in quality, affordable health coverage, especially those who already face enrollment barriers such as:

  • People without good internet access
  • People who don’t have a lot of experience with insurance
  • People living on low-incomes

HealthCare.gov is designed to automatically let parents know if their children qualify for Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids. These programs provide children from low-income families with access to quality health care. HealthCare.gov is also essential in making sure that parents are covered. When parents are covered, they’re more likely to enroll their kids in health coverage.

Georgia’s proposal to eliminate the federal marketplace would allow private web brokers and insurers to use aggressive or deceptive marketing to lure families into junk plans that earn companies higher profits but offer little actual coverage. Additionally, the services of trained and knowledgeable in-person assisters, called Navigators, could be cut.

Georgia’s 1332 waiver is bad for Georgians, bad for health care, and bad policy. If the federal government allows Georgia’s plan to move forward, it risks other states adopting similar proposals, undermining the care and coverage of children and their parents across the country.

Even if you don’t live in Georgia you can help. Please visit the National Health Law Program’s My Care Counts portal to submit comments on the proposal through January 9. Sample social media posts, an array of graphics, and a few videos to help engage people in the comment process can be found here.

Oyinade Koyi is a Communications Manager at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families.

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