The open enrollment period for signing up and purchasing private health insurance on the ACA Marketplace begins on Friday, November 1 and runs through Sunday, December 15, 2019. 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.
This year, BlueCross BlueShield SC is proposing an average rate increase of only 0.17%, while plans form Ambetter/Absolute Total Care (only available in some counties) will actually have an average decrease of 2.28%.
In South Carolina, there’s still plenty of room for improvement in terms of covering the uninsured. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported last year that, of South Carolina's 439,000 without health insurance, some 59,000 are eligible for Medicaid, while another 179,000 are eligible for Affordable Care Act Marketplace subsidies. Together, that’s 54% of the currently uninsured that are eligible for some form of subsidized coverage. For hundreds of thousands of our state’s citizens, affordable health insurance is within their reach.
For those individuals, obtaining health insurance can be transformative. Preventative and primary care can become a regular part of their lives, leading to a healthier life and preventing chronic conditions down the road. The sense of security that comes from being prepared for an unexpected health emergency also has allows families to save money for other things, like buying a home or sending their kids to college.
Nearly 217,000 South Carolinians took advantage of affordable coverage purchased on the health Insurance Marketplace in 2019, with more than 90 percent receiving some sort of tax credit subsidy. South Carolina is one of only nine states to increase enrollment from the prior year.
For those who need to sign up for coverage this year, help is free and available. Call 888-998-4646 or go to insure-sc.org. 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.