Living in Georgia can be an unhealthy prospect for many people and based on recent figures it appears that things may be getting worse with a decline in Georgia health insurance coverage. According to a recent study, Georgia has demonstrated a decline in the America’s Health rankings in the past two years. According to the United Health Foundation, the state fell from 40th to 41st in 2008, and then in 2009 it fell even further down to the 43rd position. America’s Health Rankings has conducted a state-by-state analysis of health across the country for the past 20 years, and publishes their findings on their website. Their findings place Georgia health insurance ranking of 41st for the number of uninsured people within the state.
The findings were not all bad however and the report indicates that nearly 80 percent of Georgia citizens obtain regular cholesterol checkups, a figure that places the state of Georgia at 9th in the nation. The state of Georgia also has a relatively low percentage of cardiac health disease as compared to other states. Only about 4 percent of the population suffers from this illness, ranking Georgia at number 11 in the country; a figure that is improved from 22nd the prior year. Cancer deaths in Georgia totaled about 195 per 100,000 people in 2009, which place Georgia 25th in the nation for cancer deaths.
Although about 82 percent of the people in have Georgia health insurance, the uninsured remain a significant problem in Georgia. Many people who lose their insurance due to a job loss are unable to obtain health insurance because they simply cannot afford it. Georgia health insurance premiums have risen significantly over the past several years, and health insurance costs are expected to increase even further in the coming years. Many other people go without coverage because standard health insurance companies will not write insurance for them due to a pre-existing medical condition. The majority of these uninsured in Georgia are senior citizens. This problem is not unique to Georgia, and in several states, the problem has become so prevalent that they have established a “risk pool” which is designed to provide coverage for those who would not otherwise be able to purchase it through the standard health insurance market. It is established by each individual state, which will typically require that all health insurance companies operating within the state to participate in the pool. With each company contributing a small amount, the pool receives adequate funding to be able to insure people with pre-existing conditions.
Georgia Insurance, an assignment system has been established whereby those who cannot procure health insurance coverage may request that the state place them with an insurer. Those who cannot find insurance in the standard market can contact the Georgia DOI Consumer Affairs Division and request an assignment to an insurance carrier. In order to qualify for an assignment, an applicant must have had 18 consecutive months of coverage through a carrier, and they must be unable to qualify for individual major medical coverage.