Best Health Insurance in South Carolina 2021

Last modified: January 8, 2021

Are you searching for cheap health insurance in SC? You can visit the state marketplace at HealthCare.gov to search for affordable health insurance in SC

The South Carolina health insurance marketplace provides you with several ways to choose health insurance. You can buy health insurance from BlueCross BlueShield, Ambetter/Absolute Total Care, Molina Healthcare, and Bright Health, with BlueCross BlueShield being the most popular one. 

You can also buy health insurance from Medicare and Medicaid or opt for ACA via a private health insurance company in SC. Our South Carolina health insurance guide gives you a list of providers and health insurance plans. It includes all the information you need to be able to make an informed decision regarding buying health insurance in SC.

List of Providers and Comparison of Plans

Here is a list of SC health insurance plans from popular SC health insurance companies:

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (BCBS)

Plans for residents living in South Carolina:

  • Bronze Plans pay up to 60% of medical expenses on average, while you pay up to 40%. 
  • Silver Plans pay up to 70% of medical expenses while you pay up to 30%.
  • Gold Plans pay up to 80% of medical expenses while you pay up to 20%.

Ambetter/Absolute Total Care

Plans for SC residents:

  • Bronze Plans cover your essential healthcare and medical needs. You pay lower premiums, but if you require a lot of care, you will have to pay out of your own pocket. 
  • Silver Plans provide the best balance and value between the premiums you need to pay each month and the money you need to give out of your own pocket.
  • Gold Plans covers your entire healthcare needs via Secure Care. You will pay higher premiums each month but less with your own money.

Molina Healthcare

Plans for health insurance in South Carolina:

  • State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) 
  • Medicaid 
  • Molina Medicare provides Medicare Advantage plans
  • Integrated Medicaid and Medicare (Duals) for SC residents eligible for both plans
  • Molina Marketplace allows people on Medicaid to stay with their health insurance provider while they switch from Medicaid to the marketplace

Bright Health

Health insurance plans for residents in SC:

  • Gold Plans are best for individuals requiring frequent visits to the health professional, ongoing prescriptions, and more. You will benefit from copay, thus making the costs predictable. 
  • Silver Plans are for people who would prefer lower deductibles and intend to use their plan at some point.
  • Bronze Plans are for healthy people who want to pay lower premiums and can afford to pay out of their pockets in the event you need costly treatment.
  • Catastrophic Plans are for people who are 30 years and under. This plan is perfect for people who want reduced premiums and expect minimal medical expenses. The coverage includes three primary care visits
  • Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) allows employees and their families to use HRA dollars to cover medical expenses.
  • Bright Health Secure is for emergencies with supplement health coverage to save you money.
  • Off-Exchange Plans are for people who want to buy a Bright Health plan directly or through a health insurance representative outside of the ACA exchange.

Cheapest Health Insurance in SC by Cities 

The three health insurance companies in SC offering cheap health insurance SC are BlueCross BlueShield, Bright Health Company, and Molina Healthcare. Residents can expect to pay up to $7,311 each year on health insurance. 

The health insurance plans include— bronze, silver, and gold. You have to pay a higher premium each month if you opt for a higher coverage level. 

  • Bronze ($351 per month)
  • Silver ($496 per month)
  • Gold ($529 per month)

Gold health coverage plans cost 50% more than the bronze ones. Gold plans cover 80% of medical expenses, whereas bronze plans only cover 60%. Catastrophic plans offer the lowest level of health coverage with a low monthly premium and an annual deductible of $8,150. 

The estimated insurance premiums are for a single adult, aged 40.

  • Columbia ($572 per month)
  • Charleston ($495 per month)
  • North Charleston ($486 per month)
  • Mount Pleasant ($420 per month)
  • Rock Hill ($508 per month)

Average Health Insurance Cost in South Carolina

What are the prices for health insurance in SC ?

The average cost of health insurance in South Carolina is $197.39 for each person for a standard individual health insurance plan in SC. However, the health insurance quotes in SC depends on the health insurance company you choose.

Does family size change the health insurance cost in South Carolina?

The size of your family affects your monthly premium rates. The number of people in your household and their age will all decide the rate you get. Children who are 14 and younger receive low-cost health insurance in SC. Once they turn 15, their monthly premium increases. 

Family Size Average Cost of Health Plan Per Month
Individual and child $877
Couple aged 40 $1,097
An adult couple and one child $1,425
Adult couple and two children $1,753
Adult couple with three children $2,081

What is coinsurance?

Coinsurance is the percentage of costs you need to pay after you have met your deductible. Deductibles are the set amount you need to pay for prescription drugs and medical services before your coinsurance goes into effect.

What is copayment or copay?

Copays are a fixed amount for a covered medical service paid by you to the health professional before you receive the medical service. 

South Carolina Health Insurance Types

Take a look at the different types of health insurance on offer in South Carolina:

  • Employer-provided for you and your family

You and your family can get health insurance through your employer, or you and your children can get health insurance through your partner’s employer.

  • Private health insurance for individual or family plans in SC

You can obtain private health insurance for you or your family through the South Carolina health insurance exchange (HealthCare.gov). The state uses the federally operated health insurance exchange for SC residents.

You can also obtain the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare through a private South Carolina health insurance company. 

Government-Assisted Programs

  • Medicare

Medicare provides affordable health insurance SC to people who are 65 and older. Medicare provides you with several coverage options. You can choose Part A, B, C, and D, including supplements health coverage plans. To become eligible for the Medicare Savings Program, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Individual income limit per month:  $1,456
  • Married couple income limit per month:  $1,960

Medicare Coverage

Part A covers inpatient hospital care, hospice, in-home care, surgery, lab tests, and a skilled nursing facility. 

Part B covers outpatient care and doctor and health care services, including in-home care, medical equipment, and a few preventive services.

Part C covers everything that Part A and Part B do. This also includes dental, hearing, vision, and prescription drug coverage. 

Part D covers outpatient prescription drugs and is offered by private health insurance companies in SC or acts as standalone health coverage for those enrolled in Medicare. 

How Many Are Enrolled Under Medicare In South Carolina?

An estimated 21% of South Carolina’s population has Medicare. 

  • Medicaid

Medicaid assists children and low-income families in obtaining affordable primary care. The maximum annual income for one person is $12,760. For two people, it’s $17,240. For three people, it is $21,720, and for four people, it’s $26,200. 

  • Coverage for Children

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid offer low-cost or free health insurance SC for every eligible child in South Carolina. This allows children to get regular visits to physicians, dental care, and immunizations. 

Tips to Save on Health Insurance in SC

Do you want to save money on health insurance in South Carolina? If you do, here are a few ways you can reduce your premium on health insurance:

Increase Your Deductible

Increasing your deductible reduces the cost of your premium. However, it won’t provide complete health coverage.

Shop Around and Compare

You need to consider several South Carolina health insurance companies before you choose one. Compare the quotes you receive and consider how increasing the deductible and changing your coinsurance and copay will affect the cost of the health coverage plan.

Look After Yourself

You need to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. If you get a cold, you no longer have to go to the doctor, thanks to home remedies and over the counter medications for treating common illnesses such as allergies, sore throat, and coughs. If the symptoms of an illness last longer than they should, visit your doctor.

Eliminate Your Bad Habits

You need to eliminate your bad habits, such as smoking, as they can increase your premium. If you cannot, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating right, working out daily, and taking your vitamins.

Tell Your Doctor that You Want the Generic

Branded prescription medications are more expensive than generic medications. You will receive the same great benefits as you would with a branded medication.

Review Your Health Coverage before You Seek Treatment

You need to review your health coverage plan before you visit a doctor for treatment. Once you know what your health insurance plan covers, you can see if you can afford to pay for the things it doesn’t. You can also inform your doctor about what your health insurance plan covers and see if there is a way for them to reduce your medical bill. 

Factors that Contribute to Your Premium Costs

Body Mass Index

A high Body Mass Index (BMI) can cause you to develop serious health conditions. Health insurance companies will use your Body Mass Index to determine your risk level. The higher your BMI, the higher your monthly premiums will be. 

Tobacco Use

Smoking causes most health conditions. If you smoke, your health insurance premium can increase. 

Age

Most health insurance companies tend to charge older individuals a higher insurance premium— three times more— than they charge younger people.

Cost-Sharing Reductions

People earning an income between 100% and 250% of the poverty level should choose the silver health insurance plan. Your health insurance plan includes cost-sharing reductions that lower your out-of-the-pocket expenses. People who earn an income under 200% of the poverty level will receive the most benefits.

Pre-Existing Conditions

The current law states that health insurance providers can’t refuse to provide health insurance to a person with a pre-existing condition. Once you have health insurance, they will have to pay for medical treatment for your pre-existing condition. 

Factors That Don’t Affect Premiums

South Carolina health insurance companies cannot charge different prices for women and men applying for the same health insurance plan. Health insurance companies in SC cannot consider your current medical history when deciding a premium. They must cover medical treatment for a pre-existing medical condition from the day health coverage begins.

Should You Apply as a Family or Individuals?

Individual health insurance SC will cost you less since health insurance providers tend to charge more for covering a partner and/or dependents.

Pros & Cons

The Pros

The Cons

Final Verdict

FAQs

When is South Carolina open enrollment for 2021 health insurance coverage?

Open enrollment for government and private health insurance SC started on November 1, 2020, and will last until December 15, 2020.

Did South Carolina expand Medicaid?

No, South Carolina decided not to expand Medicaid.

Is health insurance mandatory in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, health insurance is mandatory under the Affordable Care Act. But keep in mind that employers are not required to provide their employees with group SC health insurance plans.

What is the income limit for Medicaid in South Carolina?

The maximum income level each year for four people in a household is $26,200 each year, whereas for one person is $12,760 each year.

What are short-term health insurance conditions?

The following are conditions to get short-term health insurance in SC:

  • Missed open enrollment for ACA insurance coverage
  • Recently got a job, but the employer’s health insurance plan is yet to kick in
  • Soon qualify for Medicare and require just-in-case health insurance coverage until you turn 65, and then Medicare goes into effect
  • Do not qualify for Medicaid or a premium subsidy in the health insurance marketplace, or the monthly premiums for the ACA health insurance plan may be unaffordable 

The duration of short-term insurance also differs from state to state. For instance, short-term health insurance in MN lasts for 185 days and is not renewable, whereas short-term health insurance in SC cannot be longer than 11 months, including renewables.

Why is healthcare so expensive in South Carolina?

It can be a challenge to find cheap health insurance in SC. The higher cost is due to the high costs of living. South Carolina is the 8th most expensive state for health insurance in the US.