A large number of South Carolinians signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for this year, despite its unertain future as Republicans who vowed its repeal assume control of Capitol Hill and the White House.
The advocacy group Palmetto Project helped many navigate the process. Director of Programs Shelli Quenga told South Carolina Radio Network that was only a small decline from last year.
“More than 200,000 in South Carolina enrolled in an affordable healthcare plan. There may be a few more who trickle in,” she said.
She said individuals who were covered by BlueChoice last year qualify for an extension enrollment period until the end of February, isnce that company is no longer offering plans on the exchange.
State Department of Insurance data showed just more than 230,000 people had enrolled in the Palmetto State
Government advertisements have proven pivotal to enrollment in the past. “When the new administration cancelled the ads, our signup SC network ramped up its efforts to get the word out there,” Quenga said. “It really helped because we found out that South Carolina only saw a 0.7 percent decrease in enrollment compared to 2016.”
She said those who have signed up for coverage have to take the next step. “The next thing you have to do is make that first premium payment,” Quenga said.
Quenga said those signed up for coverage will still have it despite the effort underway by President Trump to repeal the ACA. “To think that it might be possible to turn it around in a year seems impractical and unrealistic,” Quenga said.
In an interview with FOX News on Sunday, the president admitted that a repeal of ObamaCare will take longer than expected and is complicated.
Quenga said that almost 9 out of 10 people in South Carolina qualify for financial assistance with their premiums. Among South Carolinians, 69% qualify for cost-sharing reductions that lower out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles as well as cutting copays or coinsurance for prescription drugs, office visits, hospitalizations or other procedures.
Since the ACA’s inception, the Palmetto Project said that South Carolina’s uninsured rate has dropped from 18.7 percent in 2013 to 12.3 percent in 2016.