Whether you’re retiring next month or next year, it’s never too soon to learn about Medicare plans in South Carolina. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides health coverage to adults age 65 and older, as well as adults with disabilities.

You can use Medicare as your primary health coverage, as supplemental coverage, or even as backup coverage in addition to another coverage policy. Keep reading to learn about Medicare South Carolina in 2020.

There are a variety of Medicare plans in South Carolina, and you can choose the plan that provides the right coverage for your unique needs.

Original Medicare, often referred to as Part A and Part B, covers basic health needs, and may include coverage for the following:

  • doctor visits
  • hospital (inpatient and outpatient) care
  • surgery
  • lab tests
  • home health care

You may be automatically enrolled in original Medicare when you turn 65.

Part D plans

A Medicare drug plan, or Part D, provides additional coverage for medications and prescriptions. This coverage can be added to an original Medicare plan for more comprehensive coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Advantage plans, known as Part C, provide all-in-one coverage from private health insurance agencies.

Along with covering the costs of hospital and medical care, Advantage plans can be tailored to match your needs, such as by adding drug, dental, or vision coverage. Some Medicare Advantage plans in South Carolina even provide the option of additional coverage for wellness programs or transportation needs.

Each state has a variety of Medicare Advantage plans and providers, and there are many options when it comes to Medicare South Carolina. These carriers offer unique plans to suit a variety of budgets and coverage needs.

  • UnitedHealthCare
  • Arcadian Health Plan
  • Humana
  • Aetna
  • Sierra Health and Life
  • BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
  • Absolute Total Care
  • Select Health of South Carolina
  • WellCare
  • Harmony Health Plan
  • Cigna
  • Molina Healthcare
  • Anthem
  • Highmark Senior Health Company
  • America’s 1st Choice of South Carolina

Medicare Advantage plans in South Carolina have a wide range of premiums and benefits, so research several plans to find the best fit for your health coverage needs. Keep in mind that providers vary by county, so be sure you’re comparing plans that are available in your county.

Medicare is available to seniors across the country. To be eligible for Medicare South Carolina, you must:

  • Be age 65 or older. Adults under the age of 65 who have a disability, or a chronic illness such as end stage renal disease, can also qualify for Medicare coverage.
  • Be an American citizen or permanent resident of the US.

To enroll in Medicare Advantage plans in South Carolina, you’ll need to be enrolled in original Medicare.

Many people are automatically enrolled in original Medicare South Carolina when they turn 65. If you haven’t been automatically enrolled, or you want to enroll in Part D coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan, there are two set periods per year when you can enroll in Medicare or switch between carriers or plans. You can also sign up for the first time during your initial enrollment period if you are turning 65.

All Americans can enroll in a Medicare plan during an initial enrollment period which starts 3 months prior to your 65th birthday, and extends 3 months after your birthday.

From January 1 to March 31, you can easily enroll in Medicare or switch plans during the Medicare open enrollment period.

The second period to reevaluate your coverage is from October 15 to December 7 during the Medicare annual enrollment period.

Finally, you may qualify for special enrollment in Medicare South Carolina if your job status has recently changed, you no longer have employer insurance, or you have a chronic illness or disability.

With all the options to choose from, it can be hard to know which Medicare plan is right for you. When comparing plans, consider the following:

  • Does your current original Medicare plan cover all your healthcare needs? If not, consider adding Plan D coverage, or research Medicare Advantage plans in South Carolina for more comprehensive coverage. Research the cost of the plan, and compare that to your out-of-pocket health expenses for the last year to determine your budget.
  • Think about the health services you’d like to access in the next year, such as vision or dental services, a hearing screening, or wellness classes. Find a plan that will cover the services you’d like to add this year.
  • Is your current doctor network approved? When reviewing Medicare Advantage plans in South Carolina, remember that each carrier works with different network doctors. Call your doctor’s office to ask what insurance plans they accept, and choose a plan that will cover your doctor’s appointments.
  • Read reviews of each carrier and plan. Thousands of people have enrolled in these plans, and you can read first-hand experiences to see if the carrier provides quality coverage. Before enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan in South Carolina, check the CMS star ratings for the plan. This rating system uses a scale from 1 to 5, and shows if a plan provides great quality care and customer service. The rating is based on how well the plan performed in the previous year, giving you a good idea of the overall quality of the plan. Plans that rank a 3 or lower may not provide great coverage and service, so choose a plan that has 4 stars or higher.

Find out more about Medicare South Carolina by contacting your doctor, or by accessing any of the following resources.

  • Medicare.gov provides access to more information about Medicare plans in South Carolina. Use their Find a Medicare Plan tool, or call 1-800-633-4227.
  • The South Carolina Department On Aging (SCDOA) provides services to seniors in South Carolina, and works with regional organizations to improve quality of life for seniors. They can be reached by telephone at 1-800-868-9095.
  • GetCareSC connects you with services in your area and provides help with Medicare enrollment and information on emergency financial assistance. You can also call them at 1-800-868-9095.
  • South Carolina Healthy Connections provides information on affordable insurance programs, and eligibility for assistance. They can be reached at 1-888-549-0820.

As you evaluate your health insurance needs for 2020, consider all your Medicare options, including original coverage, drug coverage, and Medicare Advantage plans in South Carolina.

  • First, determine your coverage needs and your budget.
  • Compare plans that match your needs, and check the CMS star ratings on Medicare plans in South Carolina to select a great plan.
  • Read more about your options on the carrier’s website, then apply online or call one of their representatives to verify all the coverage details and start the application paperwork.

Whether you’re applying for original Medicare for the first time, or want to switch providers for more comprehensive coverage, there are great Medicare plans in South Carolina that will help you stay healthy in 2020.