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.
Guiding You Through The Confusion of Medicare!Request a Consultation
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Darius Rucker to star in home renovation series backed by SC tourism agency
Charleston native and country music star Darius Rucker is headlining in a new home renovation TV show that’s backed by South Carolina’s tourism department.A new show on the Design Network, “Rucker’s Reno,” will premiere later this month and will follow the solo country singer and Hootie & the Blowfish frontman while he “revives” a historic mansion at 119 Broad St. in downtown Charleston.Along with following the restoration and redesign of Rucker’s home, the six-part series als...
Charleston native and country music star Darius Rucker is headlining in a new home renovation TV show that’s backed by South Carolina’s tourism department.
A new show on the Design Network, “Rucker’s Reno,” will premiere later this month and will follow the solo country singer and Hootie & the Blowfish frontman while he “revives” a historic mansion at 119 Broad St. in downtown Charleston.
Along with following the restoration and redesign of Rucker’s home, the six-part series also showcase local attractions in the Charleston area. Rucker meets up with “local chefs, entrepreneurs, fishermen and friends” on the show and takes part in outdoor activities. Rucker will be viewers’ “private guide to Charleston,” according to an announcement from the Design Network.
The streaming network also said the new show “stares history in the face” and addresses the history of slavery in Charleston.
Rucker told Architectural Digest that the project was all about taking his pre-Civil War-era home, “something that was once a painful reminder of that history,” and turning it into “someplace that people who look like me can be really proud of.”
“I’m a guy who likes stories, and I can’t wait to tell this one,” Rucker said in the trailer for the series, which features Betsy Berry of B. Berry Interiors and local architect Neil Stevenson talking about the singer’s house and the history of Charleston.
Rucker isn’t new to projects that highlight his home state.
A little over two years ago, the state tapped the singer to be a tourism ambassador, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed some plans for working with the star to attract more travelers.
Rucker’s status as an “official ambassador” for South Carolina tourism was announced in early 2020, at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel. Rucker made a surprise appearance at that event and performed seven of his hits. Between tunes, Rucker told the room that he was “honored to promote the state he loves more than anything.”
A photo of Rucker with a guitar was on the cover of all of South Carolina’s new tourism booklets for that year, and the tourism department laid out plans to feature Rucker in other promotions and to have the singer appear at major tourism events throughout that year.
The agency said at the time it was paying $500,000 for the deal.
State tourism director Duane Parrish had praised the fact that Rucker was not only from South Carolina but still lives here.
“He’s been promoting South Carolina onstage for years,” Parrish said after the 2020 announcement. “We’re just formalizing it.”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the state’s travel sector to a near standstill just weeks after Rucker was announced as an ambassador. Initially, the deal with Rucker was for the 2020 calendar year, but the singer continued to work with the state to promote tourism after that.
Discover South Carolina is the title sponsor of “Rucker’s Reno.”
The new series premieres May 30 at 8 p.m. on The Design Network. Starting Monday, the show was also made available for early viewing on the platform Samsung TV Plus.
Rucker made another recent tourism-boosting announcement last month. He rolled out plans for “Riverfront Revival,” a new two-day music festival to be held at North Charleston’s Riverfront Park, the same venue where the popular High Water music festival is held.
Described by Rucker as a “bucket list dream,” the inaugural festival is set for Oct. 8-9 and will feature 18 acts, including Rucker.
Charleston principal now on leave was promoted despite active investigation
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston County School District principal who was promoted on Friday then placed on administrative leave on Tuesday is now the subject of an investigation from the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.Documents state the agency has been investigating an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against newly-promoted Septima P. Clark Academy Principal Carolyn Anderson for more than two months.Anderson was promoted to that position on Friday despite the complaint after serving as the scho...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston County School District principal who was promoted on Friday then placed on administrative leave on Tuesday is now the subject of an investigation from the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.
Documents state the agency has been investigating an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against newly-promoted Septima P. Clark Academy Principal Carolyn Anderson for more than two months.
Anderson was promoted to that position on Friday despite the complaint after serving as the school’s interim principal since the beginning of the school year.
In the complaint filed with the SCHAC on Feb. 16, a male employee accuses Anderson of unwanted touching and sexual comments and gestures. He says she would give details about her sex life with her husband and even find administrative tasks for him to do just to be close to her.
The employee also alleges that Anderson discriminated against him on the basis of his gender by requiring him to intervene in student fights, even after he suffered an injury that he is still recovering from months later. He claims female teachers were not held to the same standard.
After the employee heard Anderson was promoted on Friday, he sent an email to all of the Charleston County School Board members and interim superintendent Don Kennedy on Saturday, laying out his allegations and including the official EEOC complaint. In that email, he attached a number of provocative images he says came from Anderson’s social media and what appears to be screenshots of security footage inside the school. He says the images show Anderson is unfit to be a leadership position.
“The Interim Principal does not represent what Professional Leadership represents, appears, or is expected in any of Charleston County Schools. Her conduct at best is unbecoming of a principal, egregious and reprehensible,” the email states.
The school district has not commented on why Anderson was put on leave or who is responsible for promoting her.
“As stated previously, Septima P. Clark Academy’s principal is currently on administrative leave related to personnel matters for which we cannot comment while the investigation is ongoing,” the district said in a statement. “We understand the questions of timing caused by the principal’s appointment announcement and the subsequent administrative leave, but that does not change the necessity of completing a thorough investigation.”
It is also unclear if the district was even aware she was the subject of an EEOC investigation, despite documents showing the district was served on Feb. 21. School Board Member Kristen French said she was unaware of the allegations or the promotion.
“My understanding is that staff are investigating the situation and any internal breakdown in communication regarding the EEOC complaint,” French said.
Board members are not required to review or approve principal promotions.
The district had 30 days to respond to that EEOC complaint. The Human Affairs Commissions says the district has not yet responded and the next step in the case would be to send them a subpoena.
This is still an open investigation with the SCHAC, and so far, they have not made any findings.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
New suicide prevention lifeline to overwhelm local resources
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - On July 16, the United States is getting a new three-digit number for emergencies.988 is the number people will be able call for help during a mental health crisis. However, implementing the new suicide prevention lifeline in South Carolina is proving to be a challenge.The problem is there is only one call center in the state that will fields calls from the 988 number and it already can’t keep up with the ever growing demand.That call center is called Mental Health America and it’s l...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - On July 16, the United States is getting a new three-digit number for emergencies.
988 is the number people will be able call for help during a mental health crisis. However, implementing the new suicide prevention lifeline in South Carolina is proving to be a challenge.
The problem is there is only one call center in the state that will fields calls from the 988 number and it already can’t keep up with the ever growing demand.
That call center is called Mental Health America and it’s located in Greenville County. Right now, they’re able to answer about 80 percent of the South Carolina calls and they expect that number to go exponentially down when 988 goes online and more people become aware of the new number.
Bill Lindsey is the executive director of NAMI South Carolina and says they’re trying to get another call center in the Charleston area to help relieve some of the pressure.
“The one that we’re looking at in Charleston is the one that has been used for mobile crisis or SC hopes and they’d like to see that expanded. What we don’t have is a lot of involvement with getting the funding necessary to keep this thing up and running,” Lindsey said. “The legislature was looking at putting about $1.3 million into Charleston facility to bring it up to speed. I don’t know where we are on that. It looks like we’re back to square one.”
Lindsey says the plans for 988 have been in the works for more than a year, but there’s still no investment into mental health facilities to expand call capacity.
“You know, we’re in one of the largest mental health crisis that this country has ever seen coming out of a pandemic and particularly involving youth,” Lindsey said. “Youth suicide rate is just out the roof, particularly here in South Carolina. It’s gone up in that age range of 10 to 18. The number two cause of death in South Carolina for that age group is suicide.”
Executive Director of Mental Health American of Greenville County Jennifer Piver says if the local lines are busy, someone will still pick up but they won’t be from South Carolina and Piver says that’s not ideal.
“Time matters and having folks routed around - they’re going to talk to great folks but that takes time and if there’s a life threatening situation, that time literally can be the matter of life and death,” Piver said.
Right now, the call center has about 21 full time employees. With the projected increase in calls, Piver says they’ll need 105 to answer every call in South Carolina.
There is still time to fund an expansion. The South Carolina Legislature is still discussing the budget. There’s a place holder figure of $1 in for 988 expansion. That means lawmakers could still adjust that figure when they meet again to approve the budget.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
Dietitian and pediatrician weigh in on baby formula shortage
Mother of two Ellen Burnette has developed a ritual during the baby formula shortage. Her younger son, Hayden, is almost 9 months old and needs hypoallergenic formula. Burnette works full time.“Basically, every single day, several times a day, I check Target.com for the formula because obviously I don’t have the time to go into a bazillion stores. And from what I hear, there’s nothing on the shelves anyway. So I just check Target.com every single day. And then I order; I think the max is four. So if any come in stock...
Mother of two Ellen Burnette has developed a ritual during the baby formula shortage. Her younger son, Hayden, is almost 9 months old and needs hypoallergenic formula. Burnette works full time.
“Basically, every single day, several times a day, I check Target.com for the formula because obviously I don’t have the time to go into a bazillion stores. And from what I hear, there’s nothing on the shelves anyway. So I just check Target.com every single day. And then I order; I think the max is four. So if any come in stock, like it could be two, or it could be four, then I’ll add it to my cart and order it. And then half the time I get an email that says, ‘Oh, sorry, we have to cancel your order.’”
She has enough formula for now but worries she’ll run out. “It’s definitely stressful.”
The federal government is working with manufacturers to get more formula in the pipeline and help families find the formula that’s out there. But pediatricians say the shortage may last a while longer. The trouble is tied to supply chain issues and a recall by the baby food maker Abbott Nutrition.
A dietitian and a pediatric intensivist at MUSC Children’s Health weighed in on what needs to happen from here – and what parents need to know about formula substitutions, homemade formula and breast milk.
First, dietitian Kristi Fogg said red tape needs to be peeled away during the shortage – and it’s starting to happen. “WIC serves a large percentage of our population, and they are liberalizing their formulary,” she said, referring to the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
"There’s certain products that they can provide because of contracts, and they have already started to open that bandwidth and supply more. But they need to do all-encompassing, cover every formula right now for an emergency relief issue. You should be able to get formula covered if you order it online, not just if you go to a certain WIC vendor. During this time, we should open up the availability and what we’re able to get for WIC participants,” Fogg said.
Elizabeth Mack, M.D., said relief is coming – but not as quickly as she’d like. She’s a division chief in the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, specializing in pediatric critical care and patient safety.
“Abbott just had a press release saying that the FDA is approving the reopening of the Michigan plant that was the focus of the recall. So it hopefully should be starting to produce in the next two weeks, which will help, but it doesn’t resolve the supply chain issue for now.”
With that ongoing supply chain issue in mind, Mack said babies who don’t have any health conditions that limit which formula they can use can shift to different types and brands if their regular supply is out. “Right now, you should take what you can get.”
Fogg agreed. “For the most part, if you’re getting a standard cow’s milk-based formula, they can be pretty interchangeable. That’s where utilizing a generic can come in.”
She explained what goes into most formulas. “They take cow’s milk, and they modify it. That’s why it’s not interchangeable with cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is a lot higher in fat and protein, and by itself, it doesn’t have enough iron and vitamin C in it for a baby. So the formula just takes cow’s milk as the bones of it but then modifies it to make it more comparable to breast milk.”
There are also specialty formulas – like the type Burnette’s baby drinks. “Some babies have a cow milk protein allergy, and they do different modifications to it to make it more hypoallergenic,” Fogg said.
Those babies’ parents have to be more careful, she said. Some have brought their children to the hospital after formula substitutions didn’t go well.
While a lot of recipes for homemade formula are circulating online, Mack and Fogg strongly advised against trying them. Commercial baby formula is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure its safety. Homemade versions such as evaporated milk mixed with corn syrup and water are not. They will not give a baby the nutrition it needs – and can lead to serious health problems.
When it comes to getting breast milk from someone else, Fogg said it needs to be screened. “Breast milk is a human fluid that can transmit infections. So if you do not have a reliable source, if you do not know their infectious disease status and what medications they’re taking, you shouldn’t be taking their milk.”
She also said some “breast milk” for sale isn’t as advertised. “Some people sell you cow’s milk to make money. And it’s really cow’s milk and not breast milk. There’s been a lot of data to support that – that it’s cut with non-breast-milk-containing fluids. So you have to just be very careful with your source.”
Mack said if you’re having trouble finding formula, call your pediatrician’s office for help. Nutrition specialists such as dietitians and WIC can also be good resources.
If you have formula close to its expiration date that has not expired, use it, Mack said.
And if you’re about to have a baby, get help from lactation support services to help you breastfeed.
Meanwhile, Fogg said it’s important to keep in mind that others are scrambling, too. “People get very brand specific. But you can’t hoard all these Gerber products because that’s what you want for your child. You need to be open-minded and just remember that we need to feed everyone, and that’s of the utmost importance.”
Burnette, the mom who hits the Target site every day to search for formula, said other parents’ struggles are definitely on her mind. “I’m just grateful that he is almost 9 months old and not a little, tiny brand-new baby. I sometimes feel like I should give my formula to someone who has a brand-new baby because he doesn’t need it as bad as they do, you know?”
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Enhanced walkways, raised medians among planned improvements for Ashley Phosphate Road
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Improving safety on a busy local road.South Carolina Department of Transportation officials held a public information meeting Thursday night. They are showing proposed improvements to Ashley Phosphate Road.It is a road infamous for traffic tie-ups and collisions.But SCDOT's goals in improving Ashley Phosphate Road are not just to help with congestion.Improving safety is a top priority.According to SCDOT, from January 2013 to June 2021, there were more than 5,700 vehicle...
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Improving safety on a busy local road.
South Carolina Department of Transportation officials held a public information meeting Thursday night. They are showing proposed improvements to Ashley Phosphate Road.
It is a road infamous for traffic tie-ups and collisions.
But SCDOT's goals in improving Ashley Phosphate Road are not just to help with congestion.
Improving safety is a top priority.
According to SCDOT, from January 2013 to June 2021, there were more than 5,700 vehicle crashes along Ashley Phosphate Road.
One of those crashes involved Christa Gantt's son. She came to the meeting in the hopes something changes.
"When he called me and said that he had a crash, I was not surprised. Somebody hit him from the back," says Gantt.
She believes Ashley Phosphate Road is just too dangerous.
"I have seen many, many people on the road covered with the white sheet, and it just breaks my heart. They need to do something," says Gantt.
From 2013 to June 2021, there were 16 fatalities along the corridor.
Nine of those were pedestrians.
SCDOT plans to include enhanced and additional pedestrian walkways and install raised concrete and grass medians in place of reversible lanes.
These are lanes where traffic can travel in either direction to make left turns.
"Those left turn lanes are the most dangerous ones, so we try to eliminate those, because those are the ones where people get injured. A lot of fatalities happen with the left turn lanes," says Shawn Salley, Project Program Manager from SCDOT.
Salley says Ashley Phosphate Road is one of the more dangerous roads in the state, and while he has received some pushback about the medians, he assures everyone safety is their priority.
"Our intent is to make it safer, and a lot of times we learn people get accustomed. If they want to go somewhere, they will find a way to get there," says Salley.
Neighbors say they just want to see some improvement.
"From the time we first moved here to now, it has just become a jammed up area, and there have not been any improvements," says resident Charles Traylor.
"I saw that they improved the street from four lanes to six lanes, for the cars, but they did not improve it for the pedestrian or the bicycle riders," says Gantt.
SCDOT is still in the early planning phase, but they say they hope to start construction during the winter of 2023.