Navigators work overtime to enroll South Carolinians in ACA

VIDEO: Navigators work overtime to enroll South Carolinians in ACA

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Counselors with the Palmetto Project were inundated with calls Monday as the deadline to enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act approaches. For coverage beginning January 1, the deadline is early Tuesday morning.

The Palmetto Project has seen a spike in the number of calls and appointments as South Carolinians weigh their healthcare options for 2015. Palmetto Project director Shelli Quenga says many of the calls are from people already enrolled.

"We've gotten lots of calls about those because there is a new carrier in South Carolina. There are new plans being offered. So, even if you are happy with your plan last year, it still may be worth going in and looking to see if some of the newer plans might even be better for you."

Quenga says if you miss the December 15 deadline, you can still sign up for 2015 coverage by February 15. People then must wait until October to enroll for 2016.

If someone is struggling with signing up online Monday night, they can call the Federal Call Center and leave a message by 2:59 a.m.

"They can't get into the Marketplace by phone right now because they're so overwhelmed. If they call in, they can leave their phone number. The Marketplace will call them back within five to seven days. That phone call acts as a placeholder, so they'll still be able to get enrolled by January 1."

Counselors say people are most surprised by the cost and variety of plans.

"It's remarkable what the price rates are, really, really remarkable. They didn't believe it would be that affordable."

People who are eligible for coverage, but choose not to enroll for 2015, will be fined $325 per adult or 2 percent of their taxable income.