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The ACA Deadline Has Passed – Now What?

More Than Seven Million Sign Up for Fed Healthcare Act

By Ron Harris Special to The Atlanta Voice | 4/4/2014, 11:04 a.m.
Obama Health Overhaul: President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, makes a statement on the Affordable Care Act, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Photo by Susan Walsh/AP.

ATLANTA - The March 31 deadline has passed, but millions of Americans signed up for the Affordable Care Act just in time to soon begin receiving the benefits of the federally-backed program, which offers access to healthcare to millions of previously uninsured Americans.

While they wait to receive the insurance cards that will allow them access to primary care physicians, gynecologists, ophthalmologist, dentists and other medical specialists, thousands of previously uninsured Georgia residents have already seen the benefits of ACA.

Atlanta accountant Richard Rose, owner of Richard Rose, C.P.A., in College Park, said he received an immediate boost to his business from ACA enrollment. Prior to ACA, Rose said he paid $250 a month for his administrative assistant’s health insurance plan. Under ACA, it dropped to $60 a month, he said.

“That is a sizeable deduction,” said Rose, whose firm is in the middle of handling his corporate client’s year-end tax returns.

His administrative assistant, Verna Todd, said she switched from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Human Health Insurance under ACA, and after her first doctor’s visit, everything seems to be just fine.

“It was just a physical where everything was supposed to be free,” Todd said, “and I haven’t gotten a bill yet. Under the old plan, I had a $30 co-pay.”

Additionally, she said, the amount of her hospital deductible dropped by 40 percent, to $3,000 from $5,000.

President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday afternoon that 7.1 million people had enrolled for the program prior to the March 31 deadline. So many logged on Monday that the federal site, Healthcare.gov, twice stopped accepting applications because it could not handle the volume.

Obama said considering the hic-cups involved with the launch of the website. He was pleased at the number and this moment marks a positive change in health care services in the United States.

“Now, that doesn’t mean that all the problems in health care have been solved forever,” Obama said in a White House press conference. “Premiums are still rising for families who have insurance, whether you get it through your employer or you buy it on your own -- that’s been true every year for decades.  But, so far, those premiums have risen more slowly since the Affordable Care Act passed than at any time in the past 50 years.”

“ It’s also true that, despite this law, millions of Americans remain uncovered in part because governors in some states for political reasons have deliberately refused to expand coverage under this law.  But we’re going to work on that. And we’ll work to get more Americans covered with each passing year,” he said.  

More than 240,000 Georgians have signed up for insurance under ACA in the past five months, according to Dante McKay, 40, state director for Enroll America/Get Covered America.

McKay, an Atlanta native and graduate of Clark Atlanta University, said his organization reached out to a broad demographic across the state. When they approached taxi cab drivers to enroll them for insurance, “they attacked us like ants,” McKay said.