If you missed the deadline to sign up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov, you have a renewed chance at making sure you’re covered during a global health crisis.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order in late January creating a special period during which people can sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Under the program, people can get government subsidies to help them with monthly costs. Usually, the marketplace closes down by mid-December for coverage that starts in the beginning of the year.
Get help signing up
South Carolina residents can call 803-988-9007 on Feb. 15 from 12:00 pm until 7:30 pm to speak with a health insurance expert for free.
Outside of the phone bank’s hours, anyone in need of aid can call the nonprofit Palmetto Project at 843-577-4122 for assistance in signing up for health insurance.
But starting Feb. 15, the marketplace is back open. And the S.C. Hospital Association is running a phone bank today until 7:30 p.m. to provide people with free help to sign up.
Already, the number of sign-ups through the Affordable Care Act in South Carolina broke recent years’ records.
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By the time the usual six weeks of open enrollment were up, about 230,000 people had selected plans through the federal marketplace, an increase of about 16,000 since the year before.
“With our labor market being so volatile, people have lost their health insurance along with that,” said Rozalynn Goodwin, vice president for engagement with the state Hospital Association.
Goodwin noted some plans are available that have a $0 monthly premium once subsidies kick in. Ninety percent of people who sign up for coverage through the exchanges receive some level of subsidy, according to the association.
In South Carolina, 16 percent of adults 64 or younger lack health insurance, a rate several points above the national average, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
This content was originally published here.