Get Covered: Affordable Health Care Enrollment Events Scheduled


If you lack health insurance or need to renew your coverage, now is the time to consider enrolling in health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Orangeburg and Calhoun County residents who need insurance can sign up at enrollment events from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at the John Ford Community Center, 304 Agnes St., St. Matthews, and 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec.14, at Good Shepherd Community Ministries, 1178 Five Chop Road, Orangeburg.

The events are hosted by the Regional Medical Center, Family Health Centers, Inc., Orangeburg-Calhoun-Allendale-Bamberg Community Action Agency and the Tri-County Affordable Care Act Workgroup.

"The ACA Workgroup, made up of stakeholders from Bamberg, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties, has met over the last several weeks to organize these enrollment events. We are encouraging people to come out and get coverage for themselves and their families,” said S.C. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, chairman of the Tri-County workgroup.  Statewide, enrollment is up nearly 26% over last year, according to figures from the Palmetto Project, a Charleston-based agency that provides navigation and referral services for ACA enrollment.

"I am pleased that ACA enrollment, in spite of the many barriers that have been put in place, is up in South Carolina. Hopefully, with the efforts put forth by the ACA Workgroup, this number will be even higher by the time the enrollment period ends on December 15th,” Cobb-Hunter said. This year, the enrollment time frame is shorter, funds to promote enrollment were slashed, and the staff handling enrollment at was reduced, she said.

The Affordable Care Act is still the law and those in need still have the opportunity to choose low cost health insurance.  Some individuals may even qualify for free health insurance coverage. Discounts also are still available for those who qualify.  This year, 84% of those who qualified for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act received help paying for their health insurance plan, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Open enrollment for 2018 started on November 1 and will end December 15th. If you signed up previously for health insurance through the ACA, you must re-apply.

At the upcoming events in St. Matthews and Orangeburg, certified application counselors will be available to help individuals determine the best options and enroll. If you need help, you must bring your social security number or document number if you are a legal immigrant; policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household; and employer and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage. Income information may be copies of pay stubs or W-2 forms (wage and tax statements).

Individuals who sign up at the enrollment events in each location will have their names entered into a drawing for a prize. Refreshments will be available at the sign-up locations.  For more information, call 803-395-2320.

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