GA SB 158
This week we continue our monthly series with Medical Association of Georgia. I hosted MAG CEO/Executive Director, Donald J. Palmisano, Jr., and Cindy Zeldin, Executive Director for Georgians for a Healthy Future. We talked about the challenges Georgians face regarding the lack of information available to them about how inclusive health plans are regarding what physicians, hospitals, etc., are included in the plans.
Donald talked about how on the healthcare exchanges, patients must review every plan one at a time, checking the physician directories for each one to see if the physician(s) they need are there. In many cases, this means going through as many as 30-80 unique plans.
This is complicated by the fact that in many cases, the listed physician directories are incorrect, or change frequently, leading patients to make their choices based on outdated/inaccurate information.
In the Georgia legislature, the senate is considering SB 158, aimed at addressing the issue of transparency in the health insurance space so patients and physicians can make sense out of this important part of how we access healthcare today.
Cindy joined Donald to talk about how Georgians for a Healthy Future has been advocating on behalf of the state’s citizens to help them get signed up for the newly-available health plans on the exchange. She shared how last year, over 500,000 people gained access to new health plans.
We discussed the need for these patients to get educated about how to
Special Guestsplan for the financial obligations they will face regarding co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles, etc. Folks need to learn what each of these are and have a plan for how to handle them. One such strategy is having a health savings account, which allows them to pay for their healthcare costs with pre-tax dollars out of an account that will grow over time.
We also talked about how important it is for physicians and citizens to engage with their state legislators to talk about how these issues affect them in their daily lives. SB 158 is still in the early stages, with decisions being made on it coming next spring.
Donald Palmisano, CEO, Executive Director of Medical Association of Georgia
- JD Law, Loyola School of Law
- Board of Directors, Physician Advocacy Institute
- Medical Payment Subcommitte Member, State Board of Workers’ Compensation
- Treasurer, Board of Directors, Physicians’ Institute for Excellence in Medicine
- Former Director, Government Relations/General Counsel/Director, GAMPAC
Cindy Zeldin, Executive Director, Georgians for a Healthy Future
- Master of Arts, Public Policy with focus on Women’s Studies, The George Washington University
- Master of Public Health, Public Policy, Emory University
- Previous Principal Management Analyst, Healthcare Div., Dept. of Audits, State of Georgia
- Former Senior Program Associate, Health Policy Program, New America Foundation