Friday, January 27, 2023

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A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.

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Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

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"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Georgia Open Enrollment for ACA Insurance Begins Nov. 1

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022   

Thousands of Georgians will be shopping for new health insurance plans for 2023, when open enrollment begins on Nov. 1, and there is a lot to consider.

More than 1.3 million Georgia residents do not have health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

When Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, it extended the subsidies which help many people afford their premiums, through 2025.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare employer and individual, said it's essential to take the time to research what's available and compare health plans, as every family's needs are a little different.

"If you do a little bit of homework in advance, you're more likely to make a better choice," Randall said. "Some things to consider are prescription drug benefits, mental health coverage, specialty benefits; things like dental, vision, hearing, critical illness insurance, and others that may be available as well, wellness programs."

Randall added the UnitedHealthcare website has some tools and refresher videos with information to help people navigate the health care exchange, and get a better understanding of the insurance terminology.

Randall said more health insurance companies are expanding their wellness plans and offering incentives for taking healthier actions and increasing your activity level. They may offer discounted rates for people who exercise, don't smoke, and work to lower their blood pressure. Randall said your goal should be to find a plan which helps you navigate the health care system.

"So, you're looking for, also, a health plan that's going to have good advocacy - whether it's a digital interaction or you're calling your health plan to interact," Randall said. "They're helping you maximize your benefits and services, and getting you to the care that you need at the right time."

She added more insurers are expanding their mental health coverage and offering virtual care options, which gained in popularity during the pandemic. Some plans include access to a large virtual network of licensed mental health professionals, like therapists and psychiatrists.


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