Open Enrollment

The Affordable Care Act and Roles for the Faith Community
SC Hospital Association

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that of South Carolina’s 439,000 uninsured, some 59,000 are eligible for Medicaid, while another 179,000 are eligible for Affordable Care Act Marketplace subsidies. Together, this means that 54% of those currently uninsured are eligible for some form of subsidized coverage.

Several changes on the federal level are impacting open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act in SC

• Less time — The open enrollment period was cut in half, from ninety to forty-five days. The abbreviated period is now from November 1 through December 15, 2018.

• Less marketing — Advertising for open enrollment was reduced by more than 90%, from $100 million to $10 million nationwide.

• Less assistance — Grants for in-person enrollment assistance were cut nationwide. SC’s statewide navigator grant has been reduced from $1.1 million to $300,000. The number of navigators has been reduced, along with the number of SC counties with dedicated navigators. All 46 counties were covered in years past.

• No penalty – The individual mandate for health insurance was repealed in the tax reform law.

• More confusion – Short-term plans are being introduced to consumers this enrollment period. These off-Marketplace plans are not required to cover the essential health benefits included in Affordable Care Act plans. Though the prices of short-term plans may be lower, customers may be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, prescriptions, etc.

Several things remained the same

• The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, and health insurance is a vital element of financial security as medical bankruptcy is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.

• Premium discounts/subsidies are still available and more generous than in years past.

• Many uninsured South Carolinians will be eligible for zero premium bronze plans on the Marketplace.

The Faith Community has played an important role in getting SC’s citizen’s covered

The SC Hospital Association looks forward to partnering with you in the following suggested forms of service:

• Use of church facilities for open enrollment events
• Dissemination of enrollment information through church bulletins
• Coordinated ACA presentations or information tables at church functions and gatherings, when appropriate

Together, we can keep South Carolinians covered.