COLUMBIA, SC — About 17,000 South Carolinians selected plans on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace in January, boosting the four-month total to 41,300, according to statistics released this week.
While the deadline for signing up for insurance starting Jan. 1 was in mid-December, the other important deadline built into the Affordable Care Act is March 31. Most people who don’t have health insurance by March 31 will face a tax penalty in 2015.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides statistics for people who have selected a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace. That doesn’t mean they have paid for the plan.
The 41,300 who have signed up for plans so far is a small percentage of the estimated 750,000 South Carolinians without health insurance last year. Another 16,400 of those trying to get health insurance in the marketplace were determined to be eligible for Medicaid and forwarded to the state Medicaid agency.
Here are some other statistics from the October-January report:
• 58 percent of the people signing up for plans in South Carolina are women.
• 31 percent are 34 years old or younger, a generally healthy demographic insurers say is important to even out risk.
• 68 percent selected a medium-cost silver plan, as opposed to the less expensive bronze (15 percent) or more expensive gold (16 percent) plans.
• 84 percent received tax credits, available to individuals making between $11,500 and $46,000 annually to help them pay insurance premiums.