Politics & Government

Obamacare sign-ups in SC hit new high as repeal looms

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Hawaii is America's healthiest state, Californians keep their smoking to a minimum and Kansas saw the largest increase in obesity in the 2016 America's Health Rankings Report from The United Health Foundation.

Even as congressional Republicans plan to repeal and replace the health-care law passed by former President Barack Obama, signs-up for coverage under the law rose in South Carolina.

The S.C. Insurance Department reports 194,440 South Carolinians now have individual coverage through the federal exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

The latest sign-up period for insurance under the law ended Jan. 31.

That is the largest number of sign-ups the state has seen in the four years that Obamacare has been in place. It is also the highest “effectuated” rate – the number of people who picked an insurance plan and then made the first payment – that the program has seen.

Almost 250,000 South Carolinians — 247,468 — signed up for coverage from November 2016 to January. Seventy-nine percent then followed through by making a payment for the coverage.

The South Carolinians signing up for insurance coverage this year were older and poorer than a year ago.

Ninety-eight percent of those who have insurance are receiving premium assistance. Eighty-one percent also are receiving cost assistance, which means their income is between 100 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Last year, 186,812 South Carolinians made payments for insurance through Obamacare, 76 percent of those who enrolled. Only 91 percent of those signing up received premium assistance; 73 percent received premium and cost assistance.

The average age of South Carolinians signing up for Obamacare this year was 46, up from 42 last year.

OBAMACARE SIGN UPS IN SC:

2017

247,468 enrolled

194,440 activated coverage

2016

245,918 enrolled

186,812 activated coverage

2015

178,749 enrolled

139,090 activated coverage

2014

40,747 enrolled

26,923 activated coverage

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