Health Care Act

New tally: Almost 663,000 in Carolinas have ACA health coverage

North Carolina’s enrollment push led to about 492,000 having Affordable Care Act coverage this year, according to updated federal numbers.
North Carolina’s enrollment push led to about 492,000 having Affordable Care Act coverage this year, according to updated federal numbers. ahelms@charlotteobserver.com

About 492,000 North Carolina residents and 171,000 in South Carolina had health coverage through the Affordable Care Act as of March 31, a new federal tally shows.

That’s down from the number of sign-ups released shortly after 2015 enrollment ended in February. As expected, some people didn’t pay premiums or moved to different kinds of insurance. Nationwide, total enrollment stands at 10.2 million, compared with 11.7 million sign-ups. That’s still well above the 6.3 million enrolled at the end of 2014.

More than 90 percent of Carolinians who have ACA coverage are getting federal subsidies to help pay premiums, above the national average of 85 percent. That means almost 613,000 people – 459,000 in North Carolina and 154,000 in South Carolina – will have to pay more or give up their coverage if the Supreme Court declares the subsidies unconstitutional in a ruling expected this month.

The Carolinas are among 34 states using the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace to enroll people for federal aid based on family income. The King v. Burwell case challenges the legality of that approach, with plaintiffs arguing that one phrase in the complex health care act restricts the subsidies to state-run exchanges.

Here’s what the latest federal tally shows about the Carolinas:

North Carolina

▪ Covered by ACA: 492,014.

▪ Receiving premium subsidies: 458,738, or 93 percent.

▪ Average monthly subsidy: $316.

▪ Getting aid to cover out-of-pocket costs: 321,961, or 65 percent.

South Carolina

▪ Covered by ACA: 170,948.

▪ Receiving premium subsidies: 154,221, or 90 percent.

▪ Average monthly subsidy: $281.

▪ Getting aid to cover out-of-pocket costs: 109,429, or 64 percent.

Helms: 704-358-5033;

Twitter: @anndosshelms. This article is done in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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