Georgia on My Mind
Yesterday, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed a comprehensive health care reform bill similar to Missouri’s landmark HB 818 legislation, which passed last year. We’ve praised HB 818 on this blog over and over (and elsewhere), but it seems Georgia has one-upped even that innovative piece of legislation (extensive coverage can be found here).
The most significant improvement in Georgia’s health insurance reform bill is a provision that allows insurers to provide incentives for healthy behavior. For example, health insurance companies will be able to reward individuals for things like quitting smoking or losing weight. This provision will go a long way toward reducing long-term costs.
In addition, the law mimics HB 818 in making the premiums paid on Health Savings Account?eligible insurance plans 100 percent deductible against personal state income taxes. To encourage employers to participate (particularly small businesses), the bill also allows a $250 tax credit per employee for employers that offer HSAs.
The bill also improves upon earlier legislation in that it allows health insurance to be sold across state lines, rather than through the monopolistic cartels that currently exist. So Georgians now have the opportunity to purchase HSA plans provided by Missouri companies. The increase in competition will help improve quality while lowering premium costs.
It’s really refreshing to see positive health care legislation being passed around the country. Makes me less of a cynic.