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Medicare Plans in South Carolina in 2022

As you near your Medicare enrollment age, it is important for you to understand your coverage options. This blog post will explore what Medicare plans are available in South Carolina in 2022 and what they entail.

Being aware of your state-specific Medicare rights can help you to find the best plan options possible. That’s why it’s so important to have a good understanding of the nuances of Medicare in your state. Read on to learn more about your Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and Part D options in South Carolina.

How To Apply for Medicare in South Carolina

If you are a South Carolina resident who is only interested in enrolling in Original Medicare, you can do so through your local Social Security office. You can sign up in-person, online, or over the phone as early as three months before your 65th birthday.  

However, if you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Part D drug coverage, we recommend you speak with a licensed insurance agent. They can walk you through the process and help you to find the right plan for you. 

Reach out to a team member here at Medicare Plans Direct today to have all of your Medicare-related questions answered.

Medicare Supplement Plans in South Carolina

Which Medigap plans are available to you in South Carolina will depend on a number of factors, such as which insurance company you enroll with, where you reside, and why you qualify for Medicare.

There were 281,236 South Carolina residents enrolled in Medicare Supplement Insurance in 2019. This figure represented over a quarter (26.4%) of all Medicare enrollees in the state that year. 

The most popular Medigap plans in South Carolina include Plans F, G, and N. These plans offer some of the most comprehensive coverage around.

However, beneficiaries who first became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 will no longer be allowed to enroll in Plan F. Plans G and N are good alternatives.

Medigap Enrollment in South Carolina

If you are interested in enrolling in Medigap insurance in South Carolina, the best time to do so is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

This occurs when you first become eligible for Medicare and enroll in Medicare Part B, and it lasts for 6 months. During this time, you can enroll in any Medigap plan offered in your area regardless of your health history. 

Unless you qualify for a guaranteed issue right, you may have to undergo medical underwriting if you want to sign up for a Medigap plan after your OEP finalizes. In this case, insurance companies reserve the right to deny you coverage and/or charge you higher rates. 

The state of South Carolina does not authorize any special guaranteed issue rights aside from the minimal federal standards. Some examples of guaranteed issue rights include moving out of your Medicare Advantage plan’s coverage area or losing your employer coverage.

Medigap in South Carolina for Disability Enrollees

Beneficiaries under the age of 65 who qualify for Medicare because of a disability are not granted any special Medigap protections in South Carolina. They can try to enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance during the first six months that they become eligible for Medicare and enroll in Part B, though insurance companies aren’t obligated to sell them coverage.

According to the Medicare Medigap plan finder tool, there are a couple of Medicare Supplement Insurance companies in South Carolina that sell plans to beneficiaries under the age of 65. However, companies are permitted to charge significantly higher premiums to enrollees under the age of 65 than they would charge people aged 65 and older. 

Fortunately, the South Carolina Health Insurance Pool (SCHIP) offers these individuals some alternative coverage options. SCHIP gives Medicare beneficiaries under the age of 65 to enroll in the state’s high-risk health insurance pool, and enrollees have guaranteed-access to three plans: Plan A, Plan C, and Plan D (note that Plan C is only eligible for beneficiaries who became eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020).  

Many high-risk pools disappeared after the Affordable Care Act eliminated medical underwriting in the private insurance market. South Carolina, along with a handful of other states, has maintained their pool to provide coverage options to Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for the program because of a disability. 

However, the coverage options that SCHIP offers these individuals come at a steep price. In 2021, the Plan A monthly premium was $940.05, Plan C had a monthly premium of $1.194.83, and Plan D cost $1,060.45 a month.

People who enroll in Medicare before they turn 65 will have another OEP during the six months following their 65th birthday. When this happens, they are allowed to sign up for any Medigap plan offered in their area without having to undergo medical underwriting. 

Medigap Premiums in South Carolina

There were 63 insurance companies that offer Medicare Supplement Insurance in South Carolina in 2021. State law allows each one to decide how they set monthly premiums, and most of them offer attained-age rated policies. 

With attained-age rated policies, your monthly premium will likely increase as you get older, which is important to consider when choosing a Medigap plan. 

Some South Carolina Medicare Supplement Insurance companies offer issue-age rated plans. In this case, premiums are determined by the age you were when you enrolled in the policy. 

Finally, one company offers plans with rates that aren’t based on a beneficiary’s age. These are referred to as community-rated plans. When it comes to these premiums, rates are typically the same for everyone in your area. 

Though Medigap plans’ benefits are federally standardized, premium rates can vary significantly between insurance companies. For that reason, we always recommend consulting with a knowledgeable insurance agent before deciding on a Medicare Supplement policy to ensure that you are getting the best value plan for you. 

Medicare Advantage Plans in South Carolina

Another coverage option for people looking for more benefits than those offered by Original Medicare is Medicare Advantage. Also known as Medicare Part C, these plans provide the coverage that you get under Original Medicare on top of additional benefits, which can include drug coverage, hearing coverage, vision coverage, dental coverage, and more

A little over a third (35%) of South Carolina Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2021. There are 96 Medicare Advantage plans available in South Carolina in 2022, and all Medicare beneficiaries in the state have access to at least one Medicare Advantage plan. 

However, which Medicare Advantage plans you have available to you depends on where exactly you reside, as plan availability varies from county to county. For example, Medicare enrollees who live in Greenville County can choose between 69 plans in 2022, while residents of smaller counties have significantly fewer options. There are only 42 plans available in Greenwood County in 2022. 

When it comes to monthly premiums, what you pay for your Medicare Advantage plan depends on where you live, the plan that you choose, and more. In 2022, the average Part C monthly premium for South Carolina Medicare beneficiaries is $11.66. Plus, 100% of South Carolina Medicare enrollees have access to at least one plan with a $0 monthly premium. 

Deciding which is the right Medicare Advantage plan for you is best done with the help of an experienced insurance agent. Here at Medicare Plans Direct we help you make the best Medicare choices possible at no extra cost to you. Reach out today to receive free Medicare advice.

Medicare Part D in South Carolina

Another thing for Medicare beneficiaries in South Carolina to keep in mind is their Medicare prescription drug plan options. In 2022, there are 24 stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans available to South Carolina Medicare enrollees

How much you will have to pay for your Part D premium depends on where you live and which insurance company you purchase your plan through. In 2022, the average Part D premium in South Carolina is $52.30

You can also find drug plans with $0 deductibles, though insurance companies usually charge higher monthly premiums for these plans. In 2022, there are four $0 deductible plans available to South Carolina residents, and the lowest-cost stand-alone drug plan with a $0 deductible has a monthly premium of $68.90.

It is typically a good idea to enroll in prescription drug coverage when you are first eligible if you foresee it being necessary in the future. If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part D when you first qualify and don’t have some other form of creditable drug coverage, you could face late enrollment penalty fees down the line.

Some Medicare Advantage plans may provide coverage for your prescription drugs, but if you are enrolled in Original Medicare and/or a Medigap policy, you will need stand-alone Part D coverage to help you pay for the costs of your prescription medication costs. 

As you can see, it is important to make well-informed decisions when choosing your Medicare coverage. Here at Medicare Plans Direct, we help seniors navigate their Medicare enrollment journeys. Reach out today for a free consultation with a Medicare expert.

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