Medicare in South Carolina

If you live in South Carolina, you have lots of options for your Medicare benefits. Reading this overview and talking with a Medicare specialist will help you know all the details so you will be comfortable with the plan you eventually choose.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) is the federal government program. Usually you are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare when you turn 65.

Part A – Hospital Services

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. Part A benefits cover:

  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Skilled nursing care facility
  • Home health care services
  • Hospice care

For Part A, most people in South Carolina won't have to pay a monthly premium. You will need to pay a deductible, though, and you may have to pay for a portion of the cost of Part A services.

Part B – Medical Services – including preventive care

Medicare Part B is medical insurance. Part B benefits cover:

  • Doctors' office visits
  • Preventive care
  • Lab tests, blood tests and X-rays
  • Diabetic screenings and supplies
  • Outpatient hospital care

For Part B, you will need to pay a monthly premium and a deductible.

Medicare Advantage – Part C

Another way to get your Medicare benefits is through a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. Part C is offered by private insurance companies (approved by Medicare). Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover all of the services that Original Medicare covers. Many Part C plans offer even more benefits, like prescription drugs. Medicare Advantage plans give you all of your coverage in one plan, with one card. So they can be a convenient way to get your benefits.

Most Medicare Advantage plans have deductibles, copays and coinsurance. So when you are comparing choices, be sure to ask about costs.

More Benefits: Depending on the plan you choose and where you live (your ZIP code and county in South Carolina), most Medicare Advantage plans may also cover:

  • Prescription drugs (Medicare Part D)
  • Routine care for your vision and hearing
  • Health, fitness and wellness programs

Limited Costs: Medicare Advantage plans have a yearly limit on your out-of-pocket costs. After you reach this limit, you won't have to pay anything for covered services. Although the amount of the yearly "cap" can vary among plans, it can offer peace of mind. Original Medicare does not have a yearly limit.

Prescription Drug Plans – Part D

Medicare Part D is stand-alone prescription drug coverage. Part D plans are also offered by private insurance companies. You can have this plan along with your Original Medicare. Most people will have to pay a monthly premium. You can also get prescription drug coverage in many Medicare Advantage plans.

Keep in mind that if you decide to enroll in Medicare Part C and want prescription drug benefits, you should get them through a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, not a separate stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug plan (Part D).

Medicare Supplement Plans in South Carolina

You might be interested in a Medicare Supplement plan, especially if you get healthcare services often (such as care for a chronic condition). Medicare Supplement plans cover some of your Part A and Part B out-of-pocket healthcare costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

Enrolling in Medicare Plans in South Carolina

For all the information you need to enroll, please click here

Medicare resources in South Carolina

Take advantage of these resources for South Carolina residents.

South Carolina Medicare Savings Programs

Medicare Savings Programs can help people with limited income or resources. You may be able to get assistance paying for your premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance. For more information, contact the South Carolina Medicaid department.

South Carolina State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP) In South Carolina, this program is also called the Insurance Counseling Assistance and Referrals for Elders program (I-CARE). I-CARE has trained representatives ready to give you free counseling on various Medicare topics.

Things to remember:

  • Availability of plans in specific areas in South Carolina depends on the contract between the plans and Medicare
  • Benefits and costs vary by the plan you choose and where you live
  • You must continue to pay your Original Medicare Part B premium
  • Hospice care is offered by Part A
  • Review your materials, and call a Medicare specialist

How to sign up for your Medicare plan:

  • Visit
  • Search the plans you want, choose one and enroll on their website
  • Call the plan you're interested in for a paper form to fill out
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY: 711) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, contact your state's Medicaid office also

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