STEVE SKARDON and SHELLI QUENGA
2014 -- South Carolinians seeking health insurance under the Affordable
Care Act now can access immediate in-person, online and over-the-phone
assistance from a new statewide network of certified insurance navigators
and application counselors.
Project's signupSC network
formally opened this month to assist residents in all 46 counties in securing
affordable insurance policies through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
The network also provides information and support for small businesses
applying for group coverage and families with young children in applying
to SC Healthy Connections (Medicaid).
three-month open enrollment period runs through Feb. 15. Individuals seeking
coverage for January need to have finished their selection process by
The most important piece of advice we give people before they start to
select a plan is that they have a list of their specific medical needs.
Every plan does not fit the needs of every person. The amount of the monthly
premium is only one of a number of factors contributing to the selection
of a plan. Customers need to consider, for example, which prescriptions
and services are covered and where service providers in a plan are located.
Up to 350,000
South Carolinians are eligible to buy insurance in the federal marketplace
this year. Of that number, more than 118,000 selected policies during
the first open enrollment period and will need to renew those existing
policies or select new ones. An uninsured individual seeking coverage
in the marketplace must have or expect to have a taxable income of at
least $11,670, with subsidies and tax advantages phasing out at $46,680,
but up to $95,000 for a family of four.
signupSC network includes navigators who are specialists in helping underserved
populations with unique barriers to accessing care. These include people
with disabilities and others with pre-existing conditions like HIV/AIDS.
The network also provides Spanish-speaking navigators and translation
services to those for whom English is not a primary language.
navigators can also assist applicants in determining likely subsidies
and tax benefits which will make the monthly premiums even more affordable,
she said. Last year, nearly nine out of 10 consumers were eligible for
substantial financial assistance to pay premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
Navigators are also empowered to assist customers who have complaints
with their insurance carriers.
businesses. This year, the Affordable Care Act is expanding participation
of eligible customers to include small businesses with less than 50 employees
seeking affordable group coverage. SignupSC has navigators available to
assist customers in using the Small
Business Health Care Options Program (SHOP Marketplace) to compare
and select plans.
every small business owner the opportunity to comparison shop among the
plans offered by insurers in South Carolina. Many business owners are
very surprised at the savings available based on their older plans.
South Carolina Healthy Connections (Medicaid) is state-run, mostly federally-financed
health insurance for children, pregnant women and disabled adults. In
most cases, healthy, childless adults living in South Carolina are not
eligible for comprehensive Medicaid benefits.
all adults with incomes below 194 percent of the federal poverty level
($22,640/year for a single adult) are eligible for SC Healthy Connections
Checkup, an expansion of the Family Planning coverage. This new program
will still cover family planning services, but now also will cover a biennial
physical and age-related health screenings.
way to qualify for checkup is to apply for Medicaid and be denied full
coverage. At the Palmetto
Project, we recommend that people in this income group do this not
only for the preventive services but as proof that they tried to get coverage
and therefore not required to pay a penalty on their taxes for failing
to get insurance. Furthermore, should an individual's income increase
during 2015 to a level at which Marketplace coverage would be an option,
the consumer must show proof of the attempt to enroll in order to qualify
for a Special Enrollment Period to get insurance outside of the Open Enrollment
Federally Qualified Health Centers throughout the state have on-site certified
application counselors also ready to assist any local resident in applying
for insurance. The Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce is providing
similar navigation services in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Allendale, Barnwell
and parts of Charleston County (843-986-1102).
24, 2014 -- Imagine if there were some kind of program -- a little something
extra -- that could give pervasively poor places a better chance so they
could be more like most of America.
how such a program could create better job opportunities to stabilize
family finances, reduce crime to make communities safer and improve education
so children could expand economic mobility.
January 2013, President Obama announced a pragmatic effort to help overlooked
places in America. In his State of the Union address, Obama said he would
designate 20 "Promise Zones" -- special urban, rural and tribal
communities where the federal government would partner with communities
to make life better.
smart about this effort is how it doesn't drop a big pot of money on poor
communities. Instead they have to come up with real plans on how to fix
things. Then they can apply for federal help through existing grant programs.
But the bonus: communities that get the designation will get human capital
-- trained federal workers who will help make applications for existing
grant money to grow jobs, reduce crime or improve education. For these
regions with low tax bases, that's practical help. Next, the Promise Zone
communities get a few extra points when an application is scored -- a
little bump because they're persistently poor areas with a lot of challenges.
That's smart, too, because it gives these areas a realistic chance to
compete for funding, instead of always being on the short end of the stick
because they're small and often forgotten.
Today, South Carolina's poorest region applied for a Promise Zone designation. The Southern Carolina Alliance (SCA), an economic development nonprofit that covers Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties, is leading an effort to secure the designation for just over 90,000 people in this southern tip of the Palmetto State.
this area west of Interstate 95, the poverty rate is 28.2 percent, including
one sector with a poverty rate just shy of 50 percent of residents. Unemployment
is 14.8 percent -- more than twice the state average. Crime rates are
too high. The schooling that most kids get is substandard, recognized
just last week by the state Supreme Court in a long-awaited landmark case
on inequitable school funding.
part of the Southern Carolina Promise Zone application, the SCA, in coordination
with the counties, nonprofits and private entities, proposes to energize
job growth strategies that would help small farmers grow foods to be sold
in the state's metropolitan areas and keep hundreds of millions of dollars
spent on food in the Palmetto State. Some 90 percent of the $10 billion
in food we buy in South Carolina goes out of state.
job growth strategies call for special attention to agribusiness, such
as food processing plants; creation of construction jobs by rehabilitating
poor housing and building more affordable housing units; growing green-related
jobs through a program to upfit homes to allow residents to save on energy
costs and implementing a proven program to boost financial stability of
low-income families. Also proposed: a revolving loan fund to generate
more small businesses; education measures for more job training to expand
skill sets; scholarship programs; early reading help; more prosecutors
to curb career criminals and gang activity; and a peer victim advocate
program in local schools.
leader Danny Black says his group wants the region to be named a Promise
Zone because it's just plain good for areas that have been ignored for
far too long.
the correct area of the Southeast to do something like this because we
are hurting in all of the areas that they want to touch," he said.
"It's something that allows us to bring quality of life issues and
economic opportunities to a part of the state that really needs it."
Ervolina, head of the United Way Association of South Carolina, said his
organization is excited about the possibility of a Promise Zone in the
Southern Carolina area.
not just about the additional resources," he said. "It's about
the opportunity to use those resources to build lasting community infrastructure
which can bring sustainable change."
It's about time. We're keeping our fingers crossed.
Charleston RiverDogs: Get ready for 2015 season
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is the Charleston RiverDogs. The Lowcountrys leader in sports entertainment, Charleston RiverDogs baseball is an attractive, affordable medium for your group or business. The RiverDogs develop the next major league stars for the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees at one of the finest ballparks in Minor League Baseball -- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
words sum up the every day approach taken by the Charleston RiverDogs
front office. The brainchild of club President Mike Veeck, the nine-letter
phrase Fun Is Good is meant to be a guideline and daily reminder
of how employees should approach their jobs and in turn capture the imagination
of the fans to turn them into repeat customers.
the season -- for giving thanks and giving back
NOV. 24, 2014 -- Giving. It's wonderful when it works out to benefit everyone involved, and you actually get something worthwhile back. That's what is happening with S.C.'s Community Development Tax Credit. This is a wonderful way to get into the spirit of the season.
Here's how it works. You donate money to a recognized nonprofit community development corporation (CDC) or community development financial institution (CDFI) and 33 percent of the donation is credited against your state taxes on your South Carolina tax return. A "community development corporation" is defined, in part, as a nonprofit corporation that has a primary mission of developing and improving low-income communities and neighborhoods through economic and related development. A "community development financial institution" is defined, in part, as an organization that has a primary mission of promoting community development by providing credit, capital or development services to small businesses or home mortgage assistance to individuals.
If you take the 33 percent tax credit, you cannot take the charitable deduction on your state tax return. A tax credit is usually more beneficial than a tax deduction, and in this case unused tax credits can be carried forward for nine years:
Carolina, there are 21 qualified CDCs. The Charleston community has three
-- Metanoia, Increasing HOPE and SC Community Loan Fund. You can find
the complete list at communitydevelopmentsc.org.
You are required to obtain a certificate of approval from the organization
to get this credit and the tax credit is claimed on Form TC-14, "Community
Development Tax Credit."
is treated though like a loan. You get interest payments over time, and
you get back the money that you lent them. The loan term minimum is five
years. For the five years, you get interest payments periodically. The
interest is set by a governmental formula - currently 2 percent. At the
end of five years, you get back your loan. Over the five year period,
this is the equivalent of an 8 percent return on your loan when you consider
the upfront state tax credit.
If you are an accredited investor and willing to do your due diligence with this loan, not only is there a good return for you, but the benefit for the community is far reaching. Often the federal government has matching loans to offer the CDCs or CDFIs. So that means your $25,000 loan turns into $50,000 with the federal match. A CDC can do a lot of good with these funds through programs that aid with home buying, providing healthy food, encouraging community businesses and constructing community facilities.
Not all CDCs or CDFIs, though, are set up to take loans. The S.C. Community Loan Fund is a Charleston-based local nonprofit that is. It takes the donor loan, gets matching loans from the federal government and then loans out the funds at somewhat higher interest rates to other nonprofit groups that do things such as building affordable housing.
Every year, the state makes available up to $1 million for these tax credits. Like some other tax credits, you need to make sure there are still tax credits available at the time you donate or invest. As of the end of October, funds were still available for 2014.
It is the season to give thanks. We are quite blessed with all we have. It is also the season to give back. S.C.'s Community Development Tax Credit program is an intriguing way to do both with an added twist - we benefit also. Now, that is something to be thankful for.
You can help One80 Place Nov. 25 to stock its freezer while turkeys are on sale during a Tuesday turkey collection at the Bakker Family Donation Center, 25 Walnut Street, Charleston.
The nonprofit that helps those in need get food and shelter will collect turkeys and financial donations from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
One80 Place serves 170,000 meals annually, and turkeys will be served throughout the year. A $20 donation will also help One80 Place with the cost of providing food, shelter and supportive services to 180 men, women and children every night.
One80 Place provides food, shelter and hope to end homelessness and hunger one person at a time, one family at a time. Founded in 1984, One80 Place annually serves more than 1,600 men, women and children. In addition to food and shelter, One80 Place provides a variety of supportive services such as counseling, employment and educational programming, civil legal assistance, primary healthcare and more.
Thornley, Stern to receive new Riley award
Technical College President Dr. Mary Thornley and College of Charleston
former president emeritus Dr. Theodore Stern will receive the first Joseph
P. Riley, Jr. Vision Award at MLK Business and Professional Breakfast.
The breakfast, a signature event of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in the Charleston area, will be held Jan. 20, 2015, and is sponsored by the YWCA Greater Charleston and the City of Charleston.
in October, the award is named in honor of the Charleston mayor's 15-year
tenure as honorary chair of the MLK breakfast and cites recipients for
their "model corporate citizenship."
honorees are acclaimed for overseeing major expansions in student enrollment,
faculty, curricula, facilities and funding during their college tenures,
Thornley from 1991 to the present, and Stern from 1968 to 1978. Stern
will receive the recognition posthumously. He died Jan. 18, 2013 at the
age of 100.
Give a can, get a Festival of Lights discount
get the most out of this year's Holiday Festival of Lights and its 2 million
shimmering lights at James Island County Park by bringing a non-perishable
canned food item if you visit on Monday through Thursday. In return, you'll
save $5 off the vehicle admission.
Not only will donating save visitors money, but it will also help support those in need this holiday season. Last year at the festival was a jaw-dropping record-breaking year for donations to the Lowcountry Food Bank. More than 15,000 pounds of food were donated which equated to an estimated 12,648 meals. This year, in honor of the festival's 25th anniversary, event organizers with the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission have set a goal of collecting 25,000 pounds of canned food items.
us a review
In 1965 the collection of the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery opened to the public on Thanksgiving Day with a display of some forty Old Master paintings. The majority of the collection had been organized and preserved by Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. The museum is a separate foundation that enjoys the tax-exempt status lost by Bob Jones University (BJU) in the 1970s. Its collections contain around 400 representative works of Flemish, Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Spanish painting from the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Among them are outstanding examples from the brushes of Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese, Botticelli, Preti, Reni, Le Brun, Gerard David, Cranach, Murillo, Ribera, Rubens and Van Dyck.
BJU Museum and Gallery displays paintings, period furniture, and decorative arts and also houses a collection of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Roman, and Hebrew antiquities representing thirty-seven centuries of past cultures. In addition, it contains an unusual collection of Russian icons with representative works from the 14th through 20th centuries, beginning with the Novgorod school and progressing through the reign of Nicholas II, the last Russian czar.
As a visual library and valuable resource, BJU Museum and Gallery presents a record of the culture, religion, and history of ages past. More than twenty thousand people visit the collection each year. Thousands of students, families, and adults participate in the gallery's educational and cultural offerings, such as the annual Living Gallery presentation, music performances, focus exhibitions, guided tours and more.
We encourage you to check out our sister publications:
Charleston Currents offers insightful community comment and good news on events each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer the best of what's happening locally.
Charleston Currents is provided to you twice a week by:
Address: P.O. Box. 22261 | Charleston, SC 29413
7.04 | Monday, Nov. 24, 2014
"Regular brushing could have prevented this plaque."
Insert your email address and click subscribe for free.
NEW ON THE CALENDAR
Christmas Carol: Dec. 5-21, Dock Street Theatre, Charleston.
Charleston Stage will present a new production of the Dickens classic
with special effects, new scenery, new costumes and new music. The show
will feature a cast of 29 performers. Tickets range from $38.50 to $57.50
with senior, student and military discounts. More: CharlestonStage.com
(NEW) Homegrown Holiday Bazaar: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 6, 3546 Maybank Highway, Johns Island. You can get a ton of holiday shopping done at this special bazaar at the site of the Johns Island Farmers Market. There will be a gift wrap station, hayride, food vendors, music and more. The event is offered by the market and Sea Islands Chamber of Commerce. More.
(NEW) On Emancipation Day Parades: 10:30 a.m., Dec. 12, John L. Dart Library, Charleston. Dr. Nic Butler will talk about the parades, music and political speeches that African Americans have had on January 1 every year since the end of the Civil War. The talk will offer insights into their significance and offer inspiration about why they should be continued. See scores of free events at the Charleston County Library by clicking here.
MISS THESE EVENTS EITHER
Regional premier of 4000 Miles: Through Nov. 30, Charleston Acting Studio, 915 Folly Road, James Island. Midtown Productions will offer the regional premier of this award-winning play at the end of the month. For tickets and info, click here.
Yuletide Madrigal Feast: 7 p.m., Dec. 4 through Dec. 6, Alumni Memorial Hall, Randolph Hall, College of Charleston, 66 George St. The Department of Music will present an annual feast with their award-winning Madrigal Singers. In addition to beautiful music, the Renaissance menu will include Cornish hen, haricots vert, wild rice, apple caramel tart, coffee and wine. Wassail will also be served. Tickets are $40 to $70 per person and are sold in advance only. Reservations: (828) 432-7271.
7:30 p.m., Dec. 6, Ashley River Baptist Church, 1101
Savannah Highway, Charleston. CSO Gospel Choir and CSO Spiritual Ensemble
will present the 14th annual performance of beloved holiday show. Tickets:
$35, which lower prices for seniors and students. More.
That Holiday Book Sale: Dec. 5 through Dec. 7, Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. Charleston. Books, CDs and DVDs will be on sale during the annual That Holiday Book Sale. by the Charleston Friends of the Library. Books have been picked for quality with gift-giving in mind. With prices starting at just $0.50, this is a bargain that can't be beat.
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
Moredock: New station
of Honey Hill
fun for all