South Carolina leads the nation in new enrollments for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to an announcement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. During the first four weeks of this spring’s special enrollment period, the number of state residents signing up for new plans was 316% higher than the same period in 2020, and nearly 400% higher than in 2019.
“The ACA was custom-designed for states like South Carolina with large numbers of citizens with low and moderate paying jobs,” said Steve Skardon, Executive Director of the nonprofit Palmetto Project. “We depend heavily on small businesses, and people who are self-employed or work multiple part-time jobs. The ACA is the only way they can gain access to high-quality, private health insurance. Our goal is to assist all South Carolinas in finding health coverage that is both appropriate to their needs and affordable to their pocketbooks.”
The Palmetto Project has led ACA education and enrollment efforts in South Carolina since 2013.
“The ACA was a safety net for hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians when they began losing their employer-sponsored health coverage last year,” Shelli Quenga, the organization’s State Director of Programs and leader of its InsureSC initiative, said. “As of the end of the regular open enrollment season, there were 230,050 South Carolinians enrolled in Marketplace plans. Thanks to the new American Rescue Plan Act, there are more plans with $0 premiums and more people are eligible for financial assistance. There’s no longer a maximum income to qualify for help.”
Palmetto Project started the nation’s first statewide nonprofit insurance agency in 2018, providing application and enrollment assistance for Medicare, Medicaid, Marketplace, dental and vision coverage to more than 2,500 South Carolinians in the last year. For help, call 843-577-4122. All assistance is at no cost.
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