South Carolinians can look forward to positive changes within their health insurance this year. But they will also notice some not-so-good updates with it. For starters, some of those who switched plans may not have to pay higher than what they did back in 2016. On the other hand, some may be subjected to a rate increase, with that of the entire state’s averaging at nearly 28%.
To learn more about what you can expect from your plan, here is a guide that will help you better understand the differences between the previous and the current year.
Health ratings: A major area for improvement
The state will greatly benefit from a huge improvement within its health sector, which currently faces numerous challenges. The 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, where it ranked 40th of 51, discovered that its biggest areas for improvement include the indicators “Access,” “Healthy Lives,” and “Equity,” where it got the lowest possible score of quintile 4. It also didn’t fare well in “Prevention & Treatment,” where it scored 3, although it performed a little above average (score of 2) for “Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs.”
To better understand its poor performance in “Healthy Lives,” here are some of the study’s findings:
Mortality amenable to healthcare: 99 out of 100,000 people
Breast cancer fatalities: 21.3 out of 100,000 women
Colorectal cancer fatalities: 15 out of 100,000 people
Percentage of adult smokers: 21%
Adult obesity: 33%
Obesity in children aged 10-17: 39%
As for access to health insurance, below are a few of the study’s notable takeaways:
20% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%
6% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%
18% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it
17% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills
Uninsured rating has gone down over the past years
One of the greatest feats that the Palmetto State managed to overcome over the years was its high uninsured rating. Back in 2010, this was at 17.5%, a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services study found. Five years after, it dropped down to 10.9%. This represents a 6.6% reduction in its count of consumers without insurance. In other words, 317,000 individuals, from its then estimated population of 4,896,146 (2015, latest data1), gained coverage during the course of the study.
This year’s projected premium averages
How much you’ll spend for your health insurance will still depend on many different factors other than those discussed above. Of course, the status of your own health takes priority over all other variables, so the better it is, the greater chances of you securing better rates. Just keep in mind that the whole country was subjected to a rate increase averaging at 25%.
The United States Department of Health & Human Services provided the following premium average projections which you can use to have some idea on what your premiums would look like:
Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $507
Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $115
Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $319
Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $142
Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,154
Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $405
Save money by switching plans
Yes, it’s true that the people of South Carolina now face an average of 27.8% higher rates this year. However, this doesn’t automatically mean you can’t do anything about it. You can avoid this considerable hike by opting to switch from your previous plan to the lowest premium plan within the same metal tier.