About 24,000 South Carolinians signed up for plans on the new Health Insurance Marketplace in the first three months, and they were older, poorer and more likely to be female than the national average of applicants.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released statistics for the marketplace’s first three months – Oct. 1 through Dec. 28 — on Monday.
Federal officials said they were pleased with the overall demographics of the newcomers to the marketplace, though they plan to continue outreach efforts to draw in more young people and more males. More young people, who generally are healthier, help create an insurance pool that can keep prices lower for insurance companies and premiums lower for customers.
The much-publicized problems with the healthcare.gov website have state and national applications lagging behind original projections. Nationally, 2.15 million people have selected plans. Obama administration officials had hoped that nearly 7 million would sign up by the end of March. In South Carolina, the newly insured barely puts a dent in the estimated 750,000 without health insurance last year.
Registration through healthcare.gov continues through March 31.
Here are the South Carolina statistics:
Under the Affordable Care Act, most Americans will be required to have health insurance beginning this year or face a tax penalty of $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is higher. The law allows for a three-month window of not being covered, so people can avoid the penalty by getting insurance before April 1.
To sign up for policies on the Health Insurance Marketplace, here are the options: