If you’re an American senior citizen drawing near 65 years of age, you are likely already aware of Medicare. Yet did you know that, although it’s designed to help retirees decrease their medical expenses, it doesn’t cover all of your medical needs? These kinds of gaps in Medicare coverage could one day shrink your nest egg if you don’t protect against them. Thankfully, you can find simple and reasonably priced insurance supplements – called “Medigap” policies – which often can save you from these devastating gaps in Medicare coverage.

Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplements

To make sure than a senior citizen in South Carolina has the very same benefits as a senior citizen in South Carolina, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) are in command of governing the ten available Medicare Supplement in South Carolina. Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N are now on the market (E, H, I, and J are actually discontinued). Since each plan is regulated, the only real distinction between Plan G in South Carolina and plan G in any other state is cost, and service provider. The benefits are exactly the same in all 50 states.

Medigap Enrollment In South Carolina

Take a look at the chart below. It lists in detail all of the Medigap plans which South Carolina seniors currently own (including the four discontinued plans). As in many other states, Plan F is the most popular. Plans D and F also have their fair share of beneficiaries, but not nearly as many as Plan F.

Plan Type A B C D E F G H I J K L M N
Enrollment 1,876 4,026 8,754 19,238 628 111,628 15,377 281 1,230 10,917 594 2,615 2 7,480

Plan Coverage & Cost

The cost for your Medicare Supplement in South Carolina will be different by region, by your postal code, as well as your specific characteristics, including age, chronic illness, and smoking habits. There are lots of more complex elements that can affect your rate.

In South Carolina, the cost of your Medigap plan will be determined by a number of things. Like all insurance products, there are underwriting factors that determine the cost. With your Medigap plan those factors may include your general health, your medical history, any use of tobacco, age, and gender. Also, where you live in South Carolina will contribute to how much your premium is. The cost of healthcare in South Carolina can vary from county to county so where you live is taken into consideration. To give you an idea of what the cost might be, we have provided a chart showing what people in your area are paying.

Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans in South Carolina

Why is Plan F (as seen in the chart above) so much more popular than the other plans? Well, it combines two desirable traits: comprehensiveness and simplicity. For one simple monthly premium, you can cover 100% of your Medicare coverage gaps. Conversely, however, this also makes Plan F the most expensive of all the other plans.

Plans D and G have a significant number of members as well. This is because, for seniors who have a low monthly Part B Medicare deductible, simply paying that expense themselves plus the Plan G premium adds up to hundreds of dollars in savings over plan F over time. And if you rarely incur excess charges associated with Medicare Part B, you can save even further with Medigap Plan D.

How do Medicare Supplement Ratings work?

Each year around open enrollment, Medicare publishes the Overall Star Rating report that covers every company selling Medicare related products in the country. Medicare rates five areas; how well a company uses preventive medicine like inoculations, screenings, and tests to keep subscribers healthy, how well they manage chronic diseases like diabetes, what subscribers think of the company, how many complaints it gets, and customer service. Medicare assigns stars, and the more stars the better the company performs. You can use this report to get an idea on company performance especially when comparing two or more companies.

Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks

Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions

Medigap isn’t your only choice for supplementing your Medicare coverage gaps – but it’s the most flexible one. Several kinds of supplemental coverage, Medicare Advantage particularly, control which physicians you can visit and which facilities you can get health care from. Going outside of these pre-approved networks can be expensive, and the approval process can be difficult. Medicare Supplement in South Carolina, on the other hand, will let you see any medical doctor or visit any facility that will accept Medicare.

Doctors List

If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor when you purchase a Medigap plan. The only condition is your doctor has to accept Medicare (also known as Medicare assignment). Many other plans work like HMOs or PPOs and limit your choices of doctors to those in a particular network or list. With Medigap you can use any healthcare provider in the country so long as they take Medicare. Other plans may limit your coverage to emergency service only if you seek medical attention while traveling.

Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage

Unfortunately, vision and dental coverage have not been offered by either Medicare, or Medigap supplement plans. If you need this type of medical treatment, you could pay out of pocket or acquire coverage for yourself from a private company. Medicare Part D, however, will offer prescription drug coverage. Medigap no longer supplies such benefits, simply because Part D does it for them (and for you).

Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll

Here are the various ways you can qualify for a Medigap plan. Some companies may require you to answer questions regarding your state of health in advance of qualifying, others may well limit your choices on account of pre-existing conditions. If you’re lucky, just being enrolled in Medicare could be more than enough to qualify you. For more info, take a look at our Medigap Enrollment Options page, or get hold of one of our licensed agents. They are able to make personal suggestions based on your particular circumstances.

  • Initial Enrollment Period: When you sign up for Original Medicare, you have 6 months to also sign up for a Medicare Supplement in South Carolina so that you can meet the criteria for the initial enrollment period. Registering while in the IEP guarantees automatic acceptance and coverage.
  • Guaranteed Issue: Enroll in a Medigap policy outside of your IEP, but before you lose coverage from a group or employer plan for a similarly hassle-free experience
  • Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): It is possible to sign up for or alter your Medigap plan at any time; having said that, this is the recommended window for most kinds of insurance policies (including, but not limited to, Medigap policies).
  • Underwritten: The process by which a company asks you questions and perhaps runs medical tests in order to determine whether or not they can offer you coverage.

Free Look Period

By federal law, you’ve got 30 days to evaluate your Medigap coverage after your coverage begins. If, for whatever reason, you are unsatisfied with your coverage, you may get rid of your policy for a complete refund inside your first 30 days.

What Medigap Plan Is Best For Me?

We think the best Medigap plan for you is one that you fully comprehend, provides the level of coverage that best suits your situation, and fits nicely into your healthcare budget. It’s out there, you just have to find it. And at Medigap.com we give you a head start in finding that plan by listing every Medigap plan being offered in South Carolina. We also have useful information on our site and representatives waiting for your call to answer any of your questions. Just remember that your premium isn’t the only factor you should evaluate. Reputation and financial stability are also important considerations when choosing a Medigap company.

by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.