When it comes to retirement hotspots, South Carolina has emerged as a firm favorite for those looking to spend their golden years in a coastal city with affordable living and historic charm.
With an elderly population flocking to the state, South Carolina has an abundant supply of Medicare insurers to choose from.
If you are a South Carolina resident approaching your 65th birthday, it’s time to begin your transition to Medicare coverage.
We understand that changing healthcare coverage can be intimidating, but Medicare isn’t as complex as it might seem. Enrollment itself is simple, but you need to understand all the different Medicare components that can make up your plan before you do so.
Putting time into your research ensures you get the best package for your budget, and the sooner you select a plan, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits!
Read on as our experts explore Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Advantage plans in South Carolina.
Despite a 20% population of Medicare beneficiaries, many are unaware of the financial assistance in South Carolina available to help cover costs.
Before we look at your Medicare options, here are the four Medicare Savings Programs that can provide you with significant savings:
Medicare supplement plans (also known as Medigap plans) help cover the gaps in Original Medicare coverage. Although Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) provides significant coverage, the enrollee is responsible for numerous out-of-pocket costs.
Medigap plans are purchased from Medicare-approved private carriers to cover some or all of the deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
In South Carolina, 57 insurers offer all ten standardized Medigap plans:
However, Medicare beneficiaries who enrolled after January 1, 2020, Plan C, and F will not be available.
Each of the ten Medigap plans has its own set of specific benefits. It’s up to you whether you’d prefer the basic coverage Plan A provides or more comprehensive coverage from Plan G.
Since the plan’s benefits are the same, regardless of the insurer, you can select a plan based on premiums and other factors. Remember to consider the full cost, not just the monthly premium; a plan with low premiums can cost more in out-of-pocket costs.
Start comparing Medigap plans available in your area today.
South Carolina does not make it compulsory for Medigap insurers to offer plans to individuals under-65.
Carriers that do offer plans to those under-65 often only have Medigap Plan A available, which is likely to be charged at a high premium. The scarcity of options and high cost makes Medicare Advantage a more beneficial option for Medicare beneficiaries under-65.
Medicare beneficiaries can choose to receive coverage from the federal government via Original Medicare or enroll in a private Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C) combines the benefits of Original Medicare and supplemental plans into a single plan. The plans have at least the same coverage as Original Medicare, plus Part D and other healthcare services, such as dental and vision.
With a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan, beneficiaries can house their prescription coverage under the same plan. If you like the convenience of all Medicare benefits being under a single plan, this is a big plus.
Before enrolling, check that your prescription is covered; prescription medication included varies from carrier to carrier.
Tip: Medicare Advantage holders should get prescription drug coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan instead of a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D). If you join a Part D plan while enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll be disenrolled and returned to Original Medicare.
To be eligible for Medicare Advantage, you must be enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), live in the carrier’s service area, and not have end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
In South Carolina, there are Medicare Advantage plans available in all 46 counties; however, the volume ranges from county to county. In more rural and secluded counties such as Darlington County, there are just six plans for residents to choose from, but residents have over 40 to compare in Greenville County.
Similarly, premiums, copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles can vary dramatically. This makes it vitally important to compare every plan in your area.
You can enroll and switch between Medicare Advantage plans during the annual election period (October 15 to December 7). It is also possible to change and drop coverage during the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period (January 1 to March 31).
Start comparing the Medicare Advantage plans in your zip code today.
You can apply for Medicare supplement plans at any time of the year, but there is a more preferable time to do so. During your 6-month Open Enrollment Period (that begins when your Medicare Part B is activated), you can apply for Medicare supplement coverage without being declined or charged higher premiums for pre-existing health conditions.
Medigap plans do not provide prescription drug coverage, so you must enroll in one of the stand-alone Medicare Part D plans if you desire coverage. Medicare Advantage enrollees will likely have Part D already included in their plan.
Medigap Plan F is still available to individuals who became eligible for Medicare in 2019 or earlier. Those who became eligible after January 1, 2020, do not have access to the plan, but can instead enroll in Plan G, the next most comprehensive plan.
If you have any questions about your South Carolina Medicare options, speak to one of our licensed agents. Our dedicated team will help find a Medicare plan that works for you. Call us today at 1-844-236-0228.