SCHA Hosts Phone Bank on April 15 for Special Enrollment Period
Media Contact: Kyle Petersen
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
(Columbia, South Carolina – April 12, 2021) As the special enrollment period continues and South Carolinians now have additional eligibility and enhanced subsidies to buy their own health insurance on the Marketplace, the South Carolina Hospital Association is hosting another phone bank on April 15 to assist the uninsured in signing up for coverage.
South Carolinians without insurance can sign up for 2021 coverage through August 15 thanks to a special enrollment period instituted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has also increased the amount of financial assistance for people at both lower and middle incomes for the next two years. A more detailed explanation of these enhanced and expanded subsidies and other coverage provisions of the ARPA can be found here.
While South Carolina remains one of just 12 states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, more than 200,000 South Carolinians select health insurance plans under the Marketplace plans available on HealthCare.gov each year.
That still means more than 400,000 South Carolinians remain uninsured, with 59,000 of them eligible for Medicaid and more than 180,000 eligible for premium subsidies. Together, that’s more than half of the state’s uninsured who are eligible for some form of subsidized coverage.
According to this study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there is strong evidence that the lack of health insurance leads to increased health risks, and that the lack of coverage is associated with lower use of recommended preventive services. That means that for many South Carolinians, obtaining health insurance can be transformative. Preventative and primary care can become a regular part of their lives, leading to a higher quality of life and preventing chronic conditions down the road.
214,000 South Carolinians took advantage of affordable coverage purchased on the Marketplace in 2020, and reports show that 9 out of 10 plans purchased through the Marketplace received a tax credit.
At the same time, the impact of COVID-19 has increased the state’s health challenges while also creating a volatile labor market that has wreaked havoc on the uninsured. As early as May 2020, researchers estimated that South Carolina’s uninsured rate might have risen as high as 20%, with an uncertain future ahead that won’t be fully known until after this open enrollment period.
“We want to do everything we can to give South Carolinians access to care and affordable health coverage options,” says Rozalynn Goodwin, Vice President of Engagement at SCHA. “Now, more than ever, we must do everything we continue our journey towards a better state of health.”
Residents who are looking to access affordable health insurance should call 803-988-9007 on April 15 from 12:00 pm to 7:30 pm to speak with a certified insurance agent who can answer your questions and help enroll you in an affordable health plan.
SCHA staff will also be available to media at its headquarters located at 1000 Center Point Road, Columbia, SC 29210. All media visitors are encouraged to coordinate a safe, socially distanced visit or connect virtually to capture video for your audience.
For those who need to sign up for coverage this year, help is free and available. Call 888-998-4646 or go to signupsc.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.