Who are South Carolina’s Uninsured?

IMG_6395“48% of South Carolina’s remaining uninsured are eligible for coverage,” said Shelli Quenga, Palmetto Project’s director of programs and leader of the 30-year-old non-profits signupSC network. “That’s great news for the certified enrollment assisters who are positioned across South Carolina to provide free, in-person help to those who are uninsured and those who are currently insured through the Marketplace and need to renew,” she continued.

A recently released report from Enroll America highlights some important factors as the Palmetto Project and its signupSC partners ready for tomorrow’s kickoff to the nation’s third open enrollment of the Health Insurance Marketplace. South Carolina is one of only 14 states highlighted by Enroll America, the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition. “This information helps us refine our outreach and enrollment strategies for 2016, but it also provides an important benchmark of our work since the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace opened in 2013,” said Steve Skardon, Palmetto Project executive director. According to the report, South Carolina’s uninsured rate has fallen by 6% in just two years, the largest decrease in the state since such data has been collected. “We’ve been working to create systems of care for the uninsured for more than 20 years,” added Skardon, “so this level of progress in such a short time is cause for celebration.”

While nearly half of the eligible but unenrolled residents of the state enrolled in coverage or were found eligible for the state’s free health insurance program (SC Healthy Connections Medicaid), an additional 31% of the remaining uninsured are still eligible for financial assistance, such as tax credits and cost-sharing, to purchase a health plan. An additional 17% of the remaining uninsured is eligible for SC Healthy Connections Medicaid. The online enrollment system, known as HealthCare.gov, can assist a consumer in applying for both health care programs at the same time. With a single application, a family can select plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace and also choose to send the application to SC Healthy Connections Medicaid if some or all members of the family may be eligible for that type of coverage. “It’s a win-win for the consumer,” said Quenga. “It eliminates consumers having to fill out multiple forms with the same information, and traveling from agency to agency to get the process completed.”

Palmetto Project is celebrating the third open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act with several kick-off events.  The general public can drop in to ask questions about the Marketplace, compare and select a new health insurance plan, and get assistance with enrollment applications. Although open enrollment extends through January 31, 2016, consumers can select a plan by December 15 and begin coverage on January 1.

Kick-off events on Sunday, November 1 are at the following locations:

  • Palmetto Project, 6296 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29406, 12pm-5pm
  • Coastal Carolina Fair, Exhibit Building, Ladson Fairgrounds, SC 29456, 11am-11pm
  • Columbia Place Mall, Food Court, Columbia, SC 29201, 2pm-5pm

Consumers can get more information or schedule an appointment with a certified enrollment assister in their local area by calling signupSC toll-free 1-888-998-4646 or visiting www.signupSC.org.

For more details on Enroll America and its recently released state profiles, visit https://www.enrollamerica.org/research-maps/maps/state-profiles/.

About signupSC

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.

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.