Senior Medicare Advantage plan insurance in Charleston, SC

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Helping Seniors Make Better-Informed Medicare Decisions

Trying to pick a health insurance plan can be a chore for anyone. For many people, just mentioning the word "open enrollment" sends shivers down the spine. It seems like there's always a nagging feeling that you're wasting money, choosing a plan with poor in-network care, or both. One would think that health insurance gets easier as you approach retirement age, but the truth is that picking an initial Medicare coverage plan can be daunting.

Unfortunately, the confusing process of signing up for Medicare causes many seniors to forego healthcare coverage altogether. After all, Medicare enrollment can involve several federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (or SSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS).

At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, our passion is guiding seniors through the confusion of Medicare. That way, they can enjoy retirement with peace of mind knowing they are protected and ready for life after 65. We work with dozens of insurance companies, giving our clients the chance to choose a plan that best fits their lifestyle.

We choose to design our senior insurance plans with a focus on optimal benefits structure, lower costs, and personalized service. Some independent insurance agencies see their aging customers as nothing more than a financial transaction waiting to happen. In contrast, we treat each of our clients with respect and dignity as we help them navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. Combined with individualized service, we help older Americans make well-informed decisions about insurance. Whether you're in need of senior Medicare Supplement Plan insurance in Charleston or simply have questions about signing up for Medicare, our team is here to help.

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Medicare Charleston, SC

Guiding You Through The Confusion of Medicare!

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What is Medicare?

If you're approaching the golden years of your life, it's important you understand what Medicare is if you don't already.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program reserved for people older than 65 who have worked full-time for at least ten years. The Medicare program is paid for by a combination of worker payroll tax, premiums paid by Medicare enrollees, and the U.S. government.

There are four parts of Medicare:

 Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance Charleston, SC

This type of Medicare is free for most U.S. citizens. Medicare Part A helps older adults pay for care in a nursing facility, hospital visits, and some forms of in-home senior care.

This tier costs around $100 per month. It covers different outpatient services like lab tests, preventative care, doctor's visits, mental health care, clinical trials, and some forms of surgery.

This type of Medicare is most often called Medicare Advantage. This tier of Medicare allows seniors to choose health plans provided by insurance companies like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. Individuals who use Medicare Advantage commonly use Medicare supplement plan insurance to help pay for health care costs that Original Medicare won't cover, like coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments.

Sometimes called "PDPs," these plans add drug coverage to standard Medicare, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS), some Medicare Cost Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans (MSA).

The amount of money you pay for your health care depends on several factors, including:

At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, we offer a number of health insurance solutions for seniors. Two of our most used services include Medicare Advantage plan insurance and Medicare supplement plan insurance.

Senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in Charleston

Sometimes called Medigap, the purpose of Medicare Supplement Insurance is to help fill in "gaps" that might not be covered by Original Medicare. You can think of a Medigap policy as a supplement for your Original Medicare benefits.

Private companies like Senior Medicare Insurance Services sell this type of insurance right here in South Carolina. While Original Medicare will pay for much of the cost associated with health care services you need, it may not cover all of your expenses. Generally, Medigap policies do not cover costs stemming from eyeglasses, private-duty nurses, dental care, hearing aids, or long-term care.

Depending on the Medicare Supplement Plan that you choose, it may cover out-of-the-country medical services when you travel abroad. Assuming you have Original Medicare coverage, your policy will cover its share of Medicare-approved health care costs. Once your Original Medicare coverage reaches its limit, your Medigap policy will pay its share of the fees.

Our Medigap policies are drafted to meet your specific needs, and can help cover remaining health care costs such as:

Deductibles

Copayments

Coinsurance

Important Information About Senior Supplement Plan Insurance

To dispel some confusion, you should know that a Medigap policy is not the same as a Medicare Advantage Plan. The latter helps you receive Medicare benefits, while the former supplements the benefits you obtain through your Original Medicare plan. As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:

 Senior Medicare Plans Charleston, SC

As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:

  • To qualify for a Medigap policy, you must first have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
  • Payments on your Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan will be made to the private insurance company that you choose, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. These payments are made every month and are paid in addition to the monthly payment you make for Medicare Part B.
  • If you are the holder of a Medicare Advantage Plan, it is illegal for an insurance company to sell you a senior Medicare Supplement Policy. If you plan on switching back to an Original Medicare plan, you may be able to purchase a Medigap policy.
  • If you have health problems as you age, your standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed to be renewable. So long as you pay your monthly premium, your insurance provider cannot cancel your policy.
  • Medigap policies only cover one person. If you have a spouse or family member that would like coverage, they must purchase a separate policy.
  • You may only buy a Senior Medicare Supplement Plan from an insurance agent that is licensed to sell them in your state. Senior Medicare Insurance Services has been licensed to sell Medigap policies in South Carolina for years. We have helped countless seniors get the Medicare coverage they need and continue to do so to this day.
  • In the past, Medigap policies were able to cover costs related to prescription drugs. As of January 1st, 2006, prescription drug coverage is not available on Medicare Supplement Plans. The best way to get coverage for your prescription drugs is to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, often called Part D. Contact our office today to learn more about paying premiums on Medigap and Medicare plans.

For many people, the best time to buy senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in Charleston is during the 7 months Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period starts the day you turn 65 years old, so long as you hold Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B). Generally, during the enrollment period, you get more policy choices and better pricing. Once the enrollment period is over, you may not be able to purchase a Medigap policy. Contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services today to determine if you qualify for a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan.

Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance in Charleston, SC

A Medicare Advantage Plan is a kind of Medicare health coverage designed to provide seniors with all their Part A and Part B Medicare benefits. Many Medicare Advantage Plans will often include coverage of the following:

 Medicare Plans Charleston, SC

In addition, most Medicare Advantage Plans give seniors coverage for their prescription drug needs. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan through Senior Medicare Insurance Services, your Medicare benefits are covered through your plan and will not be paid for by traditional Medicare.

How Medicare Advantage Plans Work

Sometimes called "MA Plans" or "Part C," Medicare Advantage Plans are considered an "all in one" solution to Original Medicare. Senior Medicare Advantage Plans are only offered by private companies that are approved, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. Seniors who enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan are still on Medicare. However, these individuals enjoy bundled plans that give seniors the benefits of hospital insurance (Medicare Part A), medical insurance (Medicare Part B), and sometimes drug coverage (Part D).

Medicare Advantage Plans are very popular because they cover all Medicare services and make life a little easier for seniors who have trouble understanding the nuances of Medicare.

When you contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services to choose your Medicare Advantage Plan, ask your agent about Medicare prescription drug coverage. Unless you already have drug coverage (Part D), you should seriously consider Part D coverage to help reduce costs associated with prescription drugs. You may also want to consider a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan to help fill gaps in coverage that Original Medicare will not cover.

 Senior Health Insurance Charleston, SC

Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance Rules

Medicare works by paying a set amount of money to the companies that offer senior Medicare Advantage Plan insurance in Charleston. That money is used to pay for the care services that you need. Because Medicare Advantage Plans are different, you should expect out-of-pocket costs to vary depending on the plan you choose.

Different plans have different rules for how you receive services, such as:

  • If you must go to facilities, suppliers, or doctors that belong to your Advantage Plan for non-urgent and non-emergency care.
  • Whether you must get a referral to see a specialized doctor
 Healthcare Charleston, SC

Companies that offer Medicare Advantage Plans must follow strict rules, which are set by Medicare and can change every year.

Paying for Your Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance

How much you pay for your Medicare Advantage Plan varies and depends on a few different factors. In most cases, if you need a kind of medical service, you will need to rely on the doctors and providers in your plan's service area and network to pay the lowest amounts. In some cases, if you choose to use a service outside of your plan's network of coverage, you may have to pay out-of-pocket.

We encourage you to contact our office today to learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans, how they work, what your options are, and how often you will have to pay out-of-pocket, if at all.

 Burial Insurance Charleston, SC

The Senior Medicare Insurance Services Commitment

Since our company was founded, we have led the insurance industry by providing our clients with the most valuable, helpful insurance solutions available. We are fully committed to our current and prospective clients by:

  • Choosing to focus on personalized, one-on-one service. When you work with our team, know that we will always design your health insurance plan with your best interests in mind.
  • Listening to your specific needs.
  • Responding to all inquiries and questions promptly and with a friendly attitude.
  • Providing you with the best customer service in the senior health insurance industry, whether you have questions or are ready to move forward with a Medicare plan.
 Medicare Advantage Charleston, SC

Our mission is to help give seniors the best Medicare assistance available so that they may understand the Medicare process and make an informed health coverage decision. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to assist anyone interested in Medicare. Our personal goal is to become a lifetime resource for our clients and give them greater confidence in choosing their insurance plans.

Latest News in Charleston, SC

State-of-the-art dental clinic opens in MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion

A state-of-the-art dental and oral health center has become the 22nd specialty in the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion, a sign of the site’s stunning evolution. The pavilion opened in the former Citadel Mall in late December 2019, a month before the first diagnosed case of COVID in the U.S. – not exactly ideal timing.But the pavilion has thrived despite that, seeing 64,000 patients l...

A state-of-the-art dental and oral health center has become the 22nd specialty in the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion, a sign of the site’s stunning evolution. The pavilion opened in the former Citadel Mall in late December 2019, a month before the first diagnosed case of COVID in the U.S. – not exactly ideal timing.

But the pavilion has thrived despite that, seeing 64,000 patients last year alone. The addition of the dental clinic brings the expertise of the Medical University of South Carolina’s James. B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine to the most populous part of Charleston.

“This is such an example of farsightedness,” James B. Edwards’ widow, Ann, said at the ribbon cutting.

Charleston’s mayor, John Tecklenburg, agreed. “This is where the customer base is. And although I certainly love and encourage folks to come downtown and enjoy all the things we have there, the concept of bringing our services to the citizens of West Ashley- that’s what this overall center is all about,” he said. “I think you'll be very successful.”

The clinic has four treatment rooms, on-site imaging and a full-time dentist on site, with MUSC faculty members who specialize in dental medicine coming to see patients as well. The dean of the dental school, Sarandeep Huja, DDS, Ph.D., said the clinic will focus on patients’ needs and the needs of the collaborative services dictated by existing MUSC Health patients.

“In addition to outstanding dental care, eventuallywe'll have all specialties and we'll have all levels of care – faculty, residents, our students, and it's really important for our students to experiences akin to what they would in private practice.”

Paul Davis, DMD and a member of the MUSC Board of Trustees, spoke of the foresight that led to the clinic’s creation. “Today's ceremony represents a milestone that began with a vision from Dr. Huja and his team, a vision that has been shared and supported by Dr. Cole and Dr. Cawley and MUSC Health,” he said, referring to MUSC President David Cole, M.D., and MUSC Health CEO Patrick Cawley, M.D.

“This vision highlights the importance of oral health as it relates to overall health and wellbeing,” Davis said.

Cole focused on the efforts that helped make that vision a reality. “It's an honor to be able to lead so many talented and dedicated people that are working hard to make a difference in people's lives. There's just one example, you know, so those are words from the heart. Thank you for what you do.”

Board chairman James Lemon, DMD, was also on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, as were Gene Hong, M.D., chief physician executive for MUSC Health and Lisa Saladin, PT, Ph.D., executive vice president of Academic Affairs and provost.

Huja said that while the West Ashley dental clinic is the first one not on MUSC’s downtown campus, and this growth will continue. And it will serve as a symbol of what’s possible for patients. “Why is this clinic important? The connection between systemic and oral health is epitomized in this integrated model of care, which MUSC will offer here at West Ashley medical pavilion.”

Ann Edwards said the clinic brings a much-needed option of dental expertise backed by an academic medical center to people who live in West Ashley. “It’s just wonderful that you have come to them. And that is so important. Thank you, each and every one who made it possible.”

To make an appointment at the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion’s dental clinic, call 843-876-9267.

Omicron-specific booster should be available soon

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized an Omicron-specific booster, marking the first redesign of coronavirus vaccines since they were rolled out nearly two years ago. The Omicron variant has been the dominate strain since early this year, with the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants being especially transmissible.It is anticipated t...

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized an Omicron-specific booster, marking the first redesign of coronavirus vaccines since they were rolled out nearly two years ago. The Omicron variant has been the dominate strain since early this year, with the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants being especially transmissible.

It is anticipated that on Friday, Sept. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will sign off on the authorization. After that, it’s all systems go.

“Once it’s given the OK, we’ll put in an order, and it should ship pretty quickly. The entire process should take about a week, meaning we should have it available to anyone who wants it the week of Sept. 12, maybe sooner,” said Danielle Scheurer, M.D., MUSC Health System chief quality officer.

The new booster comes at a point in the pandemic when approximately 90,000 infections and 475 deaths are being recorded daily in this country. Though hospitalizations have become much rarer, COVID-19 is still the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Though this targeted booster should help to slow the spread of the virus, Scheurer is skeptical that it will fly off the shelves.

“My guess is the uptake will be low. So many people have gotten COVID at this point, and many just aren’t getting that sick. I think people are just over it. I hate to say it, but I think a lot of folks are going, ‘I’ll just take my chances,’” she said.

But Scheurer cautioned that people who are at higher risk, such as older Americans or those with preexisting health conditions, should seriously consider getting this booster. And for those who aren’t in the higher-risk category, one motivator to get this booster might be to avoid getting long COVID, when virus-related symptoms can linger indefinitely beyond an infection.

As for the science behind the new booster, Scheurer said it was synthesized in the same way the first vaccine was, only it’s bivalent, meaning the encoded messenger RNA targets two spike proteins, instead of one: the original virus and Omicron and its known subvariants. Additionally, the dosage for this one is a little lower.

“I think it’s important that people know that this is intended to act as a booster, not a stand-alone vaccine,” she said. “Meaning that for people who haven’t been vaccinated, the course of action is to get your original two doses and then this.”

Two boosters will be available: one by Pfizer BioNTech, for use in people age 12 and up, and the other by Moderna, targeted to those 18 years and up. MUSC expects to receive the Pfizer booster.

Though MUSC is in the process of decommissioning all of its stand-alone vaccine sites, the new booster will be offered at the MUSC Health Pharmacy at Rutledge Tower as well as by most, if not all, MUSC Health affiliated primary care physician sites.

Though things seem to be trending in the right direction in this country, Scheurer still remains vigilant.

“Given the volume of people who have gotten Omicron, I’m kind of surprised we haven’t had another rapidly evolving variant,” she said. “I think we’ve been pretty lucky. But then again, this might just be the new normal – a world where we coexist with COVID and life goes on.”

‘My heart is breaking’: SC animal shelters declare state of emergency due to overcrowding

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Throughout the state, animal shelters are seeing an all-time high in animal intake numbers, causing shelters to declare a state of emergency for the second time in history.The summer is always the busiest time for shelters, but this summer specifically, a combination of different factors has created an influx of dogs overcrowding shelters.Some reasons for the influx could be the increasing population, home rental problems, kids going back to school, moving problems and flooding.Joe Elmore, Charl...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Throughout the state, animal shelters are seeing an all-time high in animal intake numbers, causing shelters to declare a state of emergency for the second time in history.

The summer is always the busiest time for shelters, but this summer specifically, a combination of different factors has created an influx of dogs overcrowding shelters.

Some reasons for the influx could be the increasing population, home rental problems, kids going back to school, moving problems and flooding.

Joe Elmore, Charleston Animal Society President and CEO, brought Bo, a shelter dog since the beginning of August, to an interview to show how this emergency can really affect the animals.

“The state of emergency means that dogs such as Bo, don’t have a place in shelters because we’re all so overcrowded right now and they need homes,” Elmore said. “Well, what is the risk? The risk is that animals like Bo may not make it out alive at shelters across our entire state. We need people that come in and make room for one more in their homes and in their hearts for animals.”

Being the largest animal shelter in the state, the Charleston Animal Society has over 700 animals in the system at the moment with 60 dogs available for adoption right now.

“My heart is breaking for these animals,” Kay Hyman, director of community engagement, said. “They’re sitting in a cage. They want to be at your house, on your couch, in your backyard. They don’t want to be sitting in a kennel.”

Shelters like the Charleston Animal Society and Berkeley County Animal Center said more dogs are coming in than being adopted, which is where the problem stems from.

If unable to adopt, both shelters ask people to consider fostering. Tiffany Hoffman, Berkeley County Animal Center Event Coordinator, and her family are on their 28 foster dog.

“Fostering is so rewarding,” Hoffman said. “It’s like anything, you try it once and you are hooked.”

Using social media to promote is also very helpful in getting the word out about animals in shelters. The Charleston Animal Society is waiving all adoption fees and providing potential owners with $250 worth of food and supplies.

“We need to get 100 adoptions out this weekend,” Elmore said. “Cats and kittens also, but the ones that are most risk are the dogs because they don’t do well when they stay in shelters for a long time.”

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Charleston principal resigns after multiple internal investigations

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A school principal in Charleston County has left the district after multiple investigations revealed she attempted to use her position to keep her son out of trouble and violated a number of district policies – including a policy dictating how special education students should be handled.Former Principal Shanitra Deas worked at Deer Park Middle School since 2019. That changed this year after a series of parent complaints and multiple internal investigations. Deas was demoted in June but decided to resig...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A school principal in Charleston County has left the district after multiple investigations revealed she attempted to use her position to keep her son out of trouble and violated a number of district policies – including a policy dictating how special education students should be handled.

Former Principal Shanitra Deas worked at Deer Park Middle School since 2019. That changed this year after a series of parent complaints and multiple internal investigations. Deas was demoted in June but decided to resign as of Aug. 25.

Deas was investigated by the district twice in the last year. The first investigation started in October when there was a fight in which her son, who attends the school, was involved. The documents in Deas’ employee file say he was helping break up the fight, but that Deas should have recused herself from the student discipline process.

The documents say she became more involved and interfered with the district’s discipline procedure.

“The extend of your involvement was such that a deadline to submit a required DAP packet was not met and standard protocol was not followed regarding the consequences to students,” the documents read.

She was given a formal reprimand in January.

In June, she was placed on administrative leave as the district began another investigation. Much of this investigation has been redacted, but the documents say she again violated the district’s nepotism policies.

However, this is not the only charge levied in the investigation material. The district also noted they received several complaints from parents about excessive suspensions for their children. It says a number of special education students had been put out of the school for an excess of 10 days – violating federal law.

“Days in which administrators have sent these students home for behavioral issue have not been coded as days of suspension as required, and no measures appear to have been taken to provide the special education services the students have missed by being sent home,” the documents read.

The district demoted Deas and she was offered an assistant principal position at Stall High School. She was allowed to keep her principal-level salary of $102,931.20 a year. Deas formally resigned on August 25.

Deas did not respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Charleston Names Courtroom in Honor of Its 1st Black Judge

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The only disagreement expressed at the event dedicating the municipal courtroom at 180 Lockwood Blvd. in Charleston to Richard E. Fields was over the year of his birth. Was it 1920, as written on the new plaque, or 1919, as Fields claims.It was a challenge to find solid evidence of the retired judge’s birth date, admitted City Councilman Peter Shahid, who helped organize the Aug. 25 ceremony. The plaque couldn’t be produced without it. If its date is correct, Fields will be 102 on Oct. 1....

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The only disagreement expressed at the event dedicating the municipal courtroom at 180 Lockwood Blvd. in Charleston to Richard E. Fields was over the year of his birth. Was it 1920, as written on the new plaque, or 1919, as Fields claims.

It was a challenge to find solid evidence of the retired judge’s birth date, admitted City Councilman Peter Shahid, who helped organize the Aug. 25 ceremony. The plaque couldn’t be produced without it. If its date is correct, Fields will be 102 on Oct. 1.

Or perhaps he will be 103, in accordance with the information his father provided him many years ago.

Either way, he is an example to many in the city, from civic leaders and council members to attorneys and judges, several of whom expressed gratitude at the ceremony, which Fields and members of his family joined via Zoom.

Fields graduated from West Virginia State College in 1944, then Howard University’s law school in 1947. He stayed in Washington, D.C., working as a waiter to save some money before returning to Charleston. He met many rising attorneys who invited Fields to join them in various big cities, according to his daughter, Diane Fields Reed. But he was adamant about returning home to be with his parents and to serve the people of Charleston.

While in D.C., Fields would send via post his dirty clothes to his mother to wash and return. As soon as he became a licensed attorney, he bought her a washing machine.

In 1949, Fields became the first Black attorney to run a law office in Charleston since Reconstruction. In 1969, he became the city’s first Black municipal judge, a position he held until becoming a Family Court judge in 1975. In 1980, he was elected a circuit judge, and served until his retirement from the bench in 1992.

It was Mayor Palmer Gaillard who nominated him to the municipal court, and City Council at the time approved the appointment unanimously.

He has been active in civic and business affairs, helping to establish Liberty National Bank in 1980, serving on the board of trustees of Claflin University and becoming involved in rural land preservation.

Fields was among the older generation of mentors who helped usher in a wave of Black legislators and legal professionals in the 1970s and ’80s.

Charleston City Council voted to approve the naming of the courtroom on Sept. 8, 2020, but the pandemic delayed the ceremony. At the event, Mayor John Tecklenburg read from the minutes of the council meeting at which Fields’ nomination to the bench was approved, then addressed Fields directly, praising his intellect, compassion and demeanor.

“You were more than a trendsetter, you were a leader,” he said.

Emmanuel J. Ferguson, associate municipal court judge, said Fields paved the way for African Americans like him and achieved “a high idea which all judges in the city of Charleston wish to aspire to.”

Visible on a couple of big screens in the courtroom, Fields was surrounded by family.

When asked if he’d like to offer remarks, Fields said: “There are times in your life when you are hopefully going to make the great speech of your life, then you can’t find the words to accomplish that.”

But he did manage to find some words, saying he was honored to have spent a long career serving the people of South Carolina and overwhelmed by the attention he was receiving now.

“I’m 103 years old,” he finished. “I will probably want to say something to you again 10 years from now.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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