What South Carolina Residents Need to Know About Obamacare
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has not been repealed. You are still required to comply with the ACA and you are still entitled to its benefits.
This website provides information about getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:
- whether or not you must get health insurance
- what the available plans cover
- how much coverage will cost
- how to sign up for a plan
- how to get help if you need it.
To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in South Carolina:
1. For 2018, you are legally required to have health insurance unless you qualify for an exemption. This will change next year.
For 2018, the Affordable Care Act requires you to enroll in a health insurance plan unless you qualify for an exemption from the law. You must report whether you have coverage -- or whether you are exempt -- when you file your taxes in April.
For 2019, the law will no longer require you to have health coverage. It remains to be seen how this will affect health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act.
To learn whether your current health plan satisfies the requirements of the Affordable Care Act or to find out whether you qualify for an exemption, see Do I Need to Get Obamacare in South Carolina?
2. Open enrollment has ended for 2018 health care plans, but you can still get health insurance if you qualify for a special enrollment period.
For 2018, Obamacare's open enrollment period ended on December 15. This means that, unless you qualify for an exception, you can't obtain health insurance through HealthCare.gov until the 2019 open enrollment period begins in the fall of 2018.
To find out more, including ways you might still get covered, see What Happens If I Missed the South Carolina Obamacare Enrollment Deadline?
3. You can shop for health insurance plans at HealthCare.gov.
During open enrollment, or when you qualify for an exception, you can use the website HealthCare.gov to choose your health insurance plan, apply for cost-saving tax credits, and get other help you need.
If you are currently uninsured, you can use the state marketplace to compare plans and enroll in a plan that meets your needs.
If you already have health insurance, you may be able to keep your current plan -- or you can use HealthCare.gov to shop for a new one.
To learn more about enrollment, see How Do I Sign Up for Obamacare in South Carolina?
4. Tax credits are still available to save you money.
Many people who sign up for insurance at the South Carolina exchange will be eligible for cost savings. For 2018 health insurance plans, savings are available in the form of tax credits to help you lower your premiums.
In addition, if your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in South Carolina.
For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in South Carolina.
5. Trump's cancellation of subsidies for insurers may not hit your pocketbook in 2018.
On October 12, 2017, the Trump administration ended subsidies for insurers called "cost-sharing reductions." These payments to insurance companies allowed them to reduce deductibles and co-payments for Americans with incomes between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level.
In the long run, this decision could destabilize the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces. For 2018 coverage, however, many people's pocketbooks may escape direct effects because HealthCare.gov tax credits will increase to cover the damages.
If you do NOT qualify for tax credits through HealthCare.gov, you may get a better deal by purchasing an insurance plan directly from an insurance company. Be sure to compare the costs of plans available to you through HealthCare.gov to those available directly from insurers in your area.
An insurance agent or broker may be the best bet for sorting out your options. To find one, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in South Carolina.
6. You can get help signing up if you need it.
It may be more difficult to find enrollment assistance because the Trump administration drastically cut funding for the programs that provide enrollment. But that doesn't mean you have to fend for yourself.
For the resources available to you, see Get Help Finding a Health Insurance Plan in South Carolina.
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