2021 Affordable Health Insurance Plans in South Carolina

The options for affordable health insurance in South Carolina have expanded significantly in recent years. There are four health insurance companies available in South Carolina on the state exchange, a significant improvement over two years ago, when residents had access to only one provider.

Highlights and updates

  • More than 200,000 residents enrolled in individual market health plans through the South Carolina marketplace in 2020.
  • Four insurance companies provide health plans in the South Carolina marketplace.
  • Short-term health plans are available for up to 11 months.
  • The South Carolina uninsured rate sits above the national average.
  • South Carolina has yet to expand Medicaid.
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How to buy health insurance in South Carolina

Some South Carolina residents may already receive health insurance through an employer or the federal government. For those who do not, there are several private insurance companies that offer comprehensive packages to suit a number of individual needs. Most private South Carolina insurers offer health insurance in five tiers: Catastrophic, Bronze, Expanded Bronze, Silver, and Gold. It’s important to understand your specific health insurance needs before selecting an insurance company and a health insurance tier. 

How to apply for health insurance in South Carolina

The open enrollment for 2022 health insurance plans in South Carolina begins on November 1, 2021. Health insurance plans in South Carolina are available to residents via federal exchange and private insurance companies. For 2020 coverage, more than 200,000 South Carolina residents enrolled in a private individual market plan on the South Carolina marketplace.

Health Insurance Carriers In South Carolina

There are four health insurance carriers in South Carolina that are available on the state exchange: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ambetter (Absolute Total Care), Bright Health and Molina. Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only carrier that is available in every county in South Carolina.

What Are The Cheapest Health Insurance Companies in South Carolina?

Now that South Carolina has four health insurance providers, rather than just one, as it did just a couple of years ago, it is easier for residents to access affordable health insurance plans. The cheapest health insurance plan currently has a monthly premium of $319.84.

How Has Obamacare Helped South Carolina’s Uninsured?

When the Affordable Care Act was implemented in South Carolina, the state’s uninsured rate sat at 15.8%. The uninsured rate dropped to 12.7% in 2018 (however, the uninsured rate has been lower: in 2016, it was 10%). 

Those with a household income between the poverty level and 400 percent of the poverty level are eligible for a subsidy in South Carolina. In 2020, almost 186,000 South Carolina residents received an average of $539 per month in premium subsidies. And nearly 87,000 enrollees received cost-sharing reductions to keep out-of-pocket costs low. 

South Carolina Health Insurance Costs Overview

The cost of health insurance in South Carolina will depend on many factors, including the carrier you choose, the tier of package you need, and other factors, including where you live and your general health status.

The following premiums are calculated for the average 40-year-old.

How Much Does Health Insurance Cost in South Carolina?

The average marketplace benchmark premium for health insurance in 2021 is $476

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What is the Cheapest Health Insurance Plan in South Carolina?

Insurers in Texas adjust their premiums every year due to fluctuations in health costs and changes in life expectancy. Premiums for the forthcoming year are set by an insurer, and approved by the federal health insurance exchange.

Cheapest South Carolina Health Insurance Coverage by Metal Tier

Gold Plans

Gold plans are the highest tier of health insurance plans available and have the highest out-of-pocket costs. Gold plans are ideal for South Carolina residents who have a high number of medical costs. 

BlueEssentials Gold 4
Estimated monthly premium: $479.47
Deductible: $2,700
Out-of-pocket maximum: $5,600

Silver Plans

Silver plans are the most popular health insurance plans in South Carolina. They are well suited to generally healthy individuals, and have lower premiums than a Gold plan and lower out-of-pocket expenses than a Bronze plan. In addition, cost-sharing subsidies are available to Silver-tier plan holders from low-income households. 

BlueEssentials Silver 10
Estimated monthly premium: $456.53
Deductible: $7,150
Out-of-pocket maximum: $7,150

 Bronze Plans

Bronze plans are ideal for young, healthy people. They have low premiums, but there will be high out-of-pocket costs in a medical emergency. 

BlueEssentials Bronze 1
Estimated monthly premium: $319.84
Deductible: $7,000
Out-of-pocket maximum: $7,350.

South Carolina Health Insurance Costs by Occupation

What is the average cost of health insurance for a student in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, children are allowed to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until they are 26 years old, whether or not they are enrolled in school. Students who do not have access to health insurance provided by a parent’s plan will likely have access to a health insurance plan offered by their university. For example, at the University of South Carolina, student health insurance is underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield and costs $2,433 per year or $1,419.00 per semester. (Source)

What is the average cost of health insurance for self-employed people in South Carolina?

Self-employed individuals will not have access to the health insurance coverage provided by an employer. They must therefore purchase a plan for themselves or their families from a private carrier. The cost of this coverage will vary depending on individual and family needs. Please refer to our list of Cheapest South Carolina Health Insurance Coverage by Metal Tier. 

What is the average cost of health insurance for small business owners in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, companies with 50 employees or more are required to provide health insurance. Small businesses, which in South Carolina are defined as having 2 to 50 employees, are not required to provide health insurance. However, small businesses that do provide health insurance may be eligible for tax credits. 

Small businesses in South Carolina can shop for insurance plans through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), which is the name of the small group health insurance exchange that the federal government established in South Carolina. Small businesses that purchase health insurance through SHOP may be eligible for federal tax credits under federal eligibility criteria. (Source)

South Carolina Health Insurance Costs by Number of Participants

What is the average cost of health insurance for families in South Carolina?

The cost of health insurance will depend on the number of people being insured. The cost of a Silver-tier plan for a family of four with two children under the age of 14, earning the average household income for South Carolina of $64,445.26, is $1,250 per month. With financial help available to individuals at this income level, those premiums could be as low as $178 per month. 

What is the average cost of health insurance for individuals in South Carolina?

The cost of health insurance for an individual in South Carolina will depend on their plan tier and any changes to personal health or existing health conditions. The average cost of health insurance for an individual in South Carolina is currently $501.

What is the average cost of health insurance for a child in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, Partners for Healthy Children is a health insurance program for children that provides free health care to children in families with low income. CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, is also available to families in the state. Family contributions to the cost of coverage for CHIP, which has no premiums, cannot exceed 5% of family income annually. (Source)

 Other Types of South Carolina Health Insurance Coverage

Catastrophic health insurance in South Carolina

Catastrophic health insurance plans are available to South Carolina residents under the age of 30. This type of insurance covers worst-case scenarios, like getting seriously injured or very sick. Under the AMA, the maximum deductible for all catastrophic plans for 2020 is $8,550. 

Short term health insurance in South Carolina

South Carolina residents who missed the open enrollment period or recently lost coverage from an employer may wish to enroll in short-term health insurance. Short-term policies do not meet the Affordable Care Act’s guidelines, and therefore can’t be purchased on the health insurance marketplace. 

In South Carolina, short-term health insurance is limited to a term of up to 11 months but can be renewed twice, extending coverage for up to 33 months.

Low income health insurance in South Carolina

To qualify for South Carolina Medicaid, you must be a state resident, a U.S. national, citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien, and someone whose financial situation would be characterized as low income or very low income. Applicants must also be one of the following: Pregnant, responsible for a child 18 years of age or younger, blind, disabled or living with a disabled family member, or 65 years of age or older. (Source)

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