At Palmetto Project we know that health is an equality issue—and the Affordable Care Act offers lots of new opportunities for LGBT folks and their families to get the quality, affordable health coverage and health care they deserve. That’s why we’re partnering with Out2Enroll to make sure LGBT South Carolinians have the facts they need about what the law means.
The Affordable Care Act established new LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination protections in health coverage and health care. Thanks to these protections, married same-sex couples can now enroll together and get financial assistance together in any family plan in any state—including South Carolina.
Palmetto Project partners statewide with the SC HIV/AIDS Council to serve those who may need some help with plans that cover specific medications and treatment for HIV and AIDS. Isaac Fredrick, enrollment assister with SC HIV/AIDS Council says, “We work a lot with the LGBT community. We create a relaxed, upbeat, friendly environment here. All of our services are free, including testing, support, and help with health insurance marketplace enrollment.”
Palmetto Project has also partnered with SC Equality to provide LGBT-specific training to enrollment assisters across South Carolina. “We’re at Pride festivals and events across South Carolina so we want the LGBT community to know we don’t discriminate because of gender or sexual orientation. Everyone has a right to quality, affordable healthcare,” says Shelli Quenga, Palmetto Project’s Director of Programs.
Each year, plan options change at HealthCare.Gov , which means that LGBT community members need to shop around for the best plan for their budget from top insurance companies. All plans must cover the Essential Health Benefits, which include doctor visits, hospital services, mental health care, prescription drugs, preventive services such as mammograms, and others. What’s more, the law makes sure that having a pre-existing condition can no longer keep someone from getting covered.
Getting covered is easy. Palmetto Project’s signupSC network provides free, in-person help from enrollment assisters who can walk consumers through the application process. LGBT-specific help is available from several signupSC partners across the state. “The Affordable Care Act has been a lifesaver for me”, says Lynn, “I’ve talked it up to all my friends.” In fact, Lynn says many of her friends have enrolled as well and thank her for her suggestion. “I wish people had the facts. You have to have income to get help with premiums” says Lynn. Overall, Lynn is very happy with her insurance through the Marketplace. She calls it a “godsend.”
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, financial assistance is available to help consumers find a plan that fits their budget. Depending on income and family size, financial assistance is available with almost 90 percent of people who’ve enrolled via HealthCare.Gov receiving financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums.
But time is running out. Consumers need to check out their options and pick a plan before the December 15th deadline in order to have coverage that starts on January 1, 2016. Palmetto Project is committed to helping LGBT consumers protect their family’s health and financial security.
signupSC, an initiative of Palmetto Project, utilizes certified insurance navigators to provide free, local, confidential enrollment assistance to South Carolinians about their options for affordable health care coverage in both the Health Insurance Marketplace and SC Healthy Connections Medicaid. Palmetto Project works collaboratively with other agencies and organizations to share unbiased, accurate, and culturally competent enrollment information with people around the state.
Out2Enroll is a national initiative launched in September 2013 to connect our communities—LGBT people and their families, friends, and allies—with the new health insurance coverage options available under the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act is making important changes—and Out2Enroll wants to make sure that the health reform law’s benefits reach everyone who needs them.
About the Palmetto Project
Palmetto Project is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify innovative approaches to social and economic challenges facing South Carolina. Through special partnerships with governments, businesses, civic groups, schools, and religious organizations, Palmetto Project strives to bring a fresh entrepreneurial spirit to the challenge of building successful communities in a great state. For more information, call (843) 577-4122 or visit www.PalmettoProject.org.