One of the biggest drivers of higher health insurance premiums is the number of uninsured.
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, South Carolina had an 18.7% uninsured rate. That meant that 18.7% of our state’s population was probably getting their healthcare from hospital emergency rooms which by law must provide the service regardless of ability to pay.
The hospitals in turn would pass those uncompensated costs onto patients with health insurance thus raising premiums. One study reported that before the ACA, $1000 a year of every family health insurance policy went to pay for the uncompensated care of the uninsured.
ACA enrollment figures show that 230,211 South Carolinians signed up for health insurance through the health insurance Marketplace for 2017. Our state’s uninsured rate is now only about 12.3%.
What does this means for those with health insurance?
Since 90% of these enrollees qualified for premium assistance through the ACA, we can surmise that up to 207 thousand more South Carolinians would not have been able to afford health insurance in 2017 were it not for the 2010 healthcare reform. You might think your premiums are too high now, but without the ACA they would be higher.
Congratulations to the Palmetto Project and its statewide insurance navigators for another successful year in helping South Carolinians sign up for health insurance through the Marketplace.
Shelli Quenga, Director of Programs for Palmetto Project said, “We’ve been fighting for access to affordable and quality healthcare for 30 years. If there’s a better version of ACA out there, we’re interested to hear what it is.”
Every American probably feels the same. That’s why it is crucial that America knows what the replacement is for the ACA before Congress repeals it.
And if, as some Republicans in Congress are now saying, the effort should be to “repair” the ACA instead of “replace” it, the public still needs to know beforehand what that “repair” is.