Jeff Graham, Georgia Equality’s executive director, told GA Voice in a recent interview his organization would focus some of its efforts in 2013 toward pressing the state to fully implement federal healthcare reform in the hopes of expanding Medicaid to permanently rid the state of the waiting list for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

“Transforming Medicaid to an insurance program that covers all low-income Georgians will be a game changer for the LGBT community throughout the state,” said Graham. “Members of the LGBT community have not historically been able to access safety net coverage unless they have a disabling condition such as AIDS. By opening up the program to all Georgians making $14,856 a year or less, hundreds of thousands of Georgians will benefit, including many in the LGBT community.”

New rules could mean better options.

“The ability to purchase insurance policies that cover domestic partners and provide access to transgender health services are some of the other options that are available,” Graham said. “Our goal with these advocacy efforts is to make sure that they will be as accessible to consumers in Georgia as they are to consumers in other parts of the country.”

Cindy Zeldin, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, said the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act will open doors to some of the state’s LGBT consumers who had previously been shut out of the private insurance market.

“Beginning in 2014, consumers will be able to purchase private health insurance through an online health exchange that will feature private health plans that boast new consumer protections,” Zeldin said. “Consumers can no longer be denied coverage or charged more for health insurance due a pre-existing condition, and tax credits will be available to make the plans more affordable.  We look forward to this partnership with Georgia Equality and to engaging leaders and small business owners within the LGBT community about the options that health reform can provide to them and their employees.”

 

Top photo: Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham (file)

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