Study: Nearly 200,000 in SC don’t qualify for Medicaid or health care through ACA

Study: Nearly 200,000 in SC don’t qualify for Medicaid or health care through ACA
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Many South Carolinians could be left in limbo when searching for health care coverage.

"Because South Carolina did not take the Medicaid expansion, then there are lots of folks who will not be able to get health care at all unfortunately," said Patrice Smith, a certified Affordable Care Act application counselor for the Fetter Health Care Network.

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows 194,330 people in our state are stuck in what is being called a "coverage gap".

Smith said, "They don't qualify for Medicaid and then they don't make enough money to be able to purchase a health insurance plan through the affordable care act."

Smith says she's tried to help several people facing this issue.

A major part of the Affordable Care Act depends heavily on states accepting the expansion of their Medicaid programs, typically available to lower income families.

The goal of the act is to fill in any gaps in available health coverage for Americans, but last year the Supreme Court ruled the expansion was only an option for states, not a mandate.

Smith said, "Only one southern state actually took the Medicaid expansion believe it or not, only one southern state and that's Arkansas. So this situation is going on throughout the South unfortunately."

Smith says there are still options for the almost 200,000 in our state who may not be able to qualify for either program.

Besides helping people sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, the Fetter Health Care Network also offers services like screenings and physicals.

Smith said, "We will never turn anybody away because they don't have the ability to pay."

A couple of months ago Governor Haley said the state find other ways to provide quality health care for citizens of South Carolina.

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