More than 41,000 South Carolinians selected a health insurance plan on HealthCare.gov between Oct. 1 and Feb. 1, according to new federal enrollment data released Wednesday.
But one state official says the federal report is misleading because only about 65 percent of those residents are actually insured under Obamacare.
The number of people who have selected a plan and paid their first month's premium - a requirement for true enrollment - is 26,923, according to S.C. Insurance Director Ray Farmer.
"It astonishing to me that they use the number of individuals that have not made it all the way through the system, that aren't actually insured," Farmer said.
His department aggregates enrollment data directly from the four insurance companies that are selling plans to South Carolinians on the insurance exchange, he said. Those reports show that 83 percent of residents in the state who purchased a plan on the insurance exchange qualified for a financial subsidy to reduce their out-of-pocket costs.
The number of people who have enrolled and paid for coverage is small compared to the estimated number of uninsured residents in this state. According to Census data, more than 700,000 South Carolinians have no health insurance.
The new federal report does not indicate if that number has been reduced since the insurance marketplace launched on Oct. 1.
Nationally, the federal government said Wednesday 3.3 million Americans selected a plan between Oct. 1 and Feb. 1, but did not clarify how many of those have paid for the coverage yet.
Enrollment among young adults outpaced all other age groups, according to a press release about the report.
"These encouraging trends show that more Americans are enrolling every day, and finding quality, affordable coverage in the Marketplace," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement.
Enrollment on HealthCare.gov is open through March 31.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.