Special enrollment period now open for ACA, could benefit thousands of Georgians without health care

Special enrollment period for ACA could benefit hundreds of thousands of Georgians without health care

ATLANTA — If you lost your job and don’t have health insurance, you can sign up right now through the Affordable Care Act.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for a special three-month open enrollment window because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Politics aside, Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon has been digging into the numbers and learned that hundreds of thousands of Georgians could benefit from it right now.

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Joseph Courson of Forsyth County said he and his family currently do not have health insurance.

“It’s a very stressful thing when you don’t have it because you may not have that regular visit you need, or you may not go to the doctor,” Courson said. “I’m self-employed so it’s best that I get insurance for the family.”

He was finally able to do it this week – when the Affordable Care Act exchange, also known as Obamacare, opened up for a special enrollment period.

“We are getting older in age and it’s probably best that we have regular checkups,” Courson said.

President Biden signed an executive order, calling for the three-month enrollment window which runs until May 15.

Laura Colbert, the executive director of a non-partisan healthcare organization called Georgians for a Healthy Future, told Wilfon that many Georgians will benefit.

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“In Georgia there are about a million and a half uninsured folks, and at least half of those are eligible but un-enrolled in the Affordable Care Act. So we know there are plenty of folks out there who could really benefit from this open enrollment time,” Colbert said.

The special enrollment period comes as several hundred thousand Georgians find themselves still out of work, with no access to work-sponsored plans.

Colbert says many Georgians who visit Healthcare.gov will find insurance options at an affordable price.

“Two out of five Georgians can qualify for a health plan that costs $10 or less. Most people are eligible for financial assistance,” Colbert said.

For their family of three, the Coulsons told Wilfon they found insurance through Obamacare for $250 a month.

Joseph Coulson believes it’s worth every penny for peace of mind.

“That’s one of the reasons we didn’t have healthcare is because we couldn’t afford it. So now that it’s out there, that’s a good thing,” Coulson said.

There is one stipulation to this. If you make below poverty level, which is about $13,000 a year for a single person, you will not qualify for Obamacare subsidies because Georgia is one of the 12 states that have not done the Obamacare Medicaid expansion that would cover many of the state’s poor.

That’s estimated to be about 650,000 Georgians left out.

Many clinics are rescheduling appointments after weather delays shipments of COVID-19 vaccine