Despite recent efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it’s still providing insurance for millions of Americans—as long as they sign up.
The open enrollment period for purchasing private insurance on the Marketplace begins on November 1 and runs through December 15, 2018. The ACA’s income-based subsidies on premiums are still intact, which means many South Carolinians will again be eligible for zero-premium bronze plans on the Marketplace. Roughly 90% of enrollees will receive some form of subsidy, and the average tax credit for a South Carolinian in 2018 was $488 per month.
Coverage will be available during the same abbreviated 45-day window that the federal government allowed last year with fewer resources for state navigators and enrollment assistance. The Federal Government has reduced the advertising budget for the ACA significantly, as well as other funding aimed to support in-person enrollment assistance.
This enrollment season saw South Carolina’s funding for open enrollment cut from $1.1 million to $300,000, and the allowance of “short-term plans,” which may deny coverage for pre-exiting conditions and institute lifetime caps and other restrictions on coverage.
Despite having fewer resources, advocates in the state’s healthcare community are confident and hopeful that South Carolinians will turn out for health coverage just as they did last year. “We enrolled more than 200,000 South Carolina residents in half the time last year,” said Rozalynn Goodwin, Vice President of Engagement with the South Carolina Hospital Association. “And the state’s hospital community is committed to working with community partners like navigators, non-profits, and insurance brokers to help more people in South Carolina access affordable health coverage.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported that, of South Carolina's 439,000 uninsured, some 179,000 are eligible for Affordable Care Act Marketplace subsidies. For all those who need to sign up, help is free and available. Call 888-998-4646 or go to signupsc.org and experts will guide SC residents through the process to find out what they qualify for and what options are available that best fit their needs.
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