Uninsured South Carolinians face hurdles in getting healthcare - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Uninsured South Carolinians face hurdles in getting healthcare

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As South Carolinians turn their attention to complying with the law, they will not have options people in many other states. Twenty-six of those states have, for example, taken the government up on its offer to pay 3 years of expanded Medicaid coverage at no cost to the states.

Shoppers may also find less information from some state agencies on how to proceed into the insurance marketplace. That means extra obstacles for South Carolinians, so hundreds of thousands of the uninsured might have to work a little harder.

You can try checking state of South Carolina agencies for information on the Affordable Care Act. That won't be easy on, for instance, the Department of Health and Human Services web site. The state Department of Insurance site is somewhat more user-friendly.

But your best bet is the federal government's Healthcare.gov site -- a motherlode of easy-to-navigate info that allows health insurance shoppers to understand the basics of the law and where to go for state-specific information.

Don't worry says Appleseed Legal Justice Center director Sue Berkowitz. While open enrollment in the new insurance marketplace begins Tuesday, you have roughly two and a half months to act to lock in coverage by New Year's Day.

"Especially for the next couple of months there will be time for people to apply, to be able to think about what kind of policy they may be interested in, and to learn about if they are eligible for a subsidy," said Berkowitz.

State leaders including Gov. Nikki Haley have consistently pushed for state solutions that would address healthcare system shortfalls without signing onto the ACA.

"If we were doing such a good job as a state and could do it ourselves, why haven't we done it thus far? Why is it that it took a comprehensive law to get through the federal government for South Carolina to say, 'We can do it better,' and we haven't," said Berkowitz.

South Carolina has more than 750,000 people who lack health insurance.

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