Nationwide Study Of New Health Exchanges Shows Georgia How To Lower Costs For Consumers

Georgia PIRG Education Fund

Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage.  Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014.

“After the passage of federal reform, many states are working to create these new marketplaces,” said Jessica Wilson “With several strong examples already out there for how to create a pro-consumer exchange, Georgia’s leaders need to take action.”

The report closely examines the exchanges that have so far been set up by states and rates them according to how accountable they will be to consumers and the public, how much they can do to lower premiums and improve the quality of care, how friendly they will be to consumers, and how stable they will be.

“This scorecard is a practical and powerful tool for consumer advocates and policymakers alike. Georgians for a Healthy Future has been advocating for a consumer-friendly exchange here in Georgia, and the benchmarks contained within this report can help inform Georgia’s decision-making process,” said Cindy Zeldin, Executive Director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, a consumer health advocacy organization. 

Some of the most important policies to consider in order to make Georgia’s exchange strong include: 

  • Giving it the power to leverage enrollee’s buying power to negotiate with insurers for higher-value, more affordable coverage.
  • Barring insurers and other industry representatives from serving on the exchange board, so it will be more accountable to the public and to consumers.
  • Making sure consumers will have an easier time shopping for coverage through easy-to-use tools and comparisons between plans.

“With only two years before our exchange needs to be open for business, our state needs to get off the starting blocks,” concluded Wilson.  “It’s time for our leaders to step up and make sure consumers get the high-quality coverage options they need.”