News 12 First at Five/ August 16, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga.--If you don't have health insurance, you will soon, whether you want it or not. The Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, kicks in in less than two months, and it means everyone will have to pay for health insurance.
US Congressman John Barrow was in Augusta Friday at the Henry Brigham Community Center as seniors gathered to hear more about their healthcare options.
The forum was held as part of community health center week. So, we asked him what you can expect October 1st. He says, "If everything goes according to schedule, it's going to begin the open enrollment program for those folks who don't have insurance, but for those who want to try and get insurance under the Affordable Care Act."
But, many people still have a lot of questions about the new healthcare plan, like Tommie Sampson, Jr., who says, "I don't know much about it."
Ron Skenes with Christ Community Health Services says, "I think a lot of people are really confused about how it's all going to work out."
Congressman Barrow says, "It's an unnecessarily complicated picture, that's one of the things that's wrong with the law."
The plan is for open enrollment to start in October for anyone without insurance. Then, their policy would become effective January 1st. But many states, including Georgia, have already filed for extenstions because they're running into rate hike problems with insurance companies. Congressman Jack Kingston says many people are already seeing rates nearly double.
He says, "Well I can put it this way, my 30 year old daughter who is extremely healthy, her premium went from $178 a month to $270 a month."
Michelle Nunn, a democrat running for Senate in 2014, admits, there are still some kinks to work out in the healthcare plan.
"I know how important it is for families to have the healtchare they need. I also know that there are some burdens and regulations on the current legislation. We need to diminish and problem solve around those," she said.
But, a lot of folks still have hope that the kinks can be worked out.
Dorothy Jones says, "I'm 81 years old and I remember all the social security, and all those different organizations that the government sponsored. They had a lot of kinks, but they worked them out. And I think if we work together we can work them out."
Until then, lawmakers say to expect a bumpy ride.
Congressman Barrow says, "I'm afraid they can expect more uncertainty because the insurance companies they're dealing with are going to be responding to that uncertainty by raising their premiums and hedging their bets against what's coming down the road."
Right now it's still not certain if open enrollment will start on time october 1st because a lot of states are way behind on getting everything done before that deadline.