Did you know that there are almost one million South Carolina Medicare beneficiaries? While most Medicare rules and regulations are the same nationally, Medicare plans can vary not just by state and county, but by individual zip code! This is your ultimate guide to Medicare in South Carolina.
Those ages 65 and older are eligible for Medicare in South Carolina (and all 50 states). If you are not yet 65 but are diagnosed with either ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease) or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), you can still qualify.
Original Medicare in SC includes Part A, hospital coverage, and Part B, medical coverage. Part A provides coverage for hospital, nursing home, hospice, and home health services. Part B provides coverage for preventative doctor visits, emergency transportation, x-rays and labs, mental health, and durable medical equipment. Once you have A and B, you’ll need to add a form of prescription drug coverage. You can do this through a prescription drug plan (otherwise known as Part D) or through a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
Every Medicare beneficiary will begin with Original Medicare. Then, everyone will need to select a form of prescription drug coverage. That can be either a stand-alone prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C).
Keep in mind that South Carolina provider networks are not all the same, so you’ll want to check to make sure your doctor accepts the plan that you choose.
Medicare Advantage not only covers Parts A and B, but also adds coverage for additional items. SC Medicare Advantage plans can include prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and even transportation and fitness benefits.
If you don’t think Medicare Advantage plans in South Carolina are right for you, you can buy a Medicare Supplement plan instead, sometimes called Medigap. South Carolina Medigap plans do not cover extra benefits like dental and vision, but they can help you pay for your deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. South Carolina Medicare Supplement plans are organized by letters A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. Each letter represents a different plan type with a different amount of coverage and a different cost.
While your costs may be different based on the plan options you choose, the Part A and Part B costs are standardized. If you worked and paid your Medicare taxes for at least 39 quarters (about ten years), you can qualify for premium-free Part A. If, however, you only worked and paid your Medicare taxes for 30-39 quarters (between 7 and 10 years), you’ll have to pay $240 per month in 2019. If you paid Medicare taxes for even less than 30 quarters, you’ll have to pay $437 per month. Most Medicare Part A beneficiaries will face coinsurance for hospital stays. In 2019, the cost is $341 per day for the first 90 days, and then $682 per day.
The 2019 standard premium for Part B is $135.50 per month, but that amount can change based on your income. The standard deductible is $185 per year.
If you qualify for Medicare in South Carolina but also meet the income requirements for SC Medicaid, you can get benefits from both programs. If you qualify for a DSNP (dual-eligible special needs plan), you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during almost any time of the year instead of waiting for the Annual Enrollment Period to come around every fall. Your DSNP can make your Medicare coverage more affordable by covering your premiums, deductibles, and/or coinsurance and co-payments.
Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A, but you’ll have to enroll in Part B. You can at your local Social Security office, the Social Security website, or by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you are a Railroad Retirement Board member, call the RRB directly to apply for Medicare in South Carolina at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY 1-312-751-4701). If you want more coverage than A and B, those plans are offered by private insurance companies. Our agents can help you if you want Medicare Advantage instead of Original Medicare.
You can enroll in Parts A and B at your local Social Security office or from the Social Security website, but you’ll want to speak to a licensed Medicare Plan Finder agent to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan.
Foster Grandparents - The Foster Grandparents system pairs seniors with school-aged children to enforce positive behavior, reading, physical activity, etc. Members form mutually beneficial relationships and improve their social lives! For more information, contact the program coordinator Larrisa McDowell at email@example.com or call 803-252-7734.
Senior Companions - Through the Senior Companion program, volunteers can visit with seniors to prevent loneliness and encourage physical activity. For more information, contact the program coordinator, Sonya Johnson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-352-7734 ext. 245.
Meals On Wheels - This program is South Carolina’s senior meal delivery service. Seniors who have trouble keeping up with an adequate, healthy diet due to transportation or financial constraints can apply or get a referral from a doctor, agency, friend, or family member. A representative will perform a home visit to assess need. The cost of this service will vary based on need. Meals are designed to meet at least a third of a senior’s daily nutritional needs. For more information, contact Anne Shissias at email@example.com or 803-252-7734 ext. 234.
Wellness Centers - South Carolina seniors have access to four South Carolina wellness centers, located in Columbia, Blythewood, Eastover, and Hopkins. They provide classes, activities, and meals.
Emergency Rental Assistance - Applicants who are at least 150% above the federal poverty line can apply to receive temporary home rental funding.
Legal Assistance - South Carolina seniors in need can receive free or low-cost legal counsel through the Office on Aging!
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) - Seniors who need money but have had a hard time going back to work can apply to work in their communities.
South Carolina Provider Search - If you want to find out if your doctor accepts a certain plan, or if you’re looking for a new doctor in your area, this provider search tool can help.
Looking for South Carolina Medicare savings? We can help you figure out if you’re eligible for any cost savings. We can help you set up a free appointment with an agent in your area who can come to your home and help you sort through your options.
If you’re looking for a way to save money on your premiums, copayments, and coinsurance, get in touch with us at Medicare Plan Finder. We can help you find out if you are eligible for cost savings.
To get started, give us a call at 833-GET-ENROLLED (833-438-3676).
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