Senior Medicare Advantage plan insurance in Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head or simply have questions about signing up for Medicare, our team is here to help.

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Medicare Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head

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 Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head 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 Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head. 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 Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head, 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 Hilton Head, SC

Coastal home decor brand Serena and Lily opens first East Coast outlet store in Bluffton

Serena and Lily, the upscale home decor and furniture brand that is the epitome of the “Coastal Grandmother” trend, has opened a temporary outlet in Bluffton’s Tanger Outlets 1.The store features premium product samples, second-quality and first-quality overstock items.“We are not a factory store, and nothing is specifically made for outlet sale,” Elizabeth Ramirez, senior director of invento...

Serena and Lily, the upscale home decor and furniture brand that is the epitome of the “Coastal Grandmother” trend, has opened a temporary outlet in Bluffton’s Tanger Outlets 1.

The store features premium product samples, second-quality and first-quality overstock items.

“We are not a factory store, and nothing is specifically made for outlet sale,” Elizabeth Ramirez, senior director of inventory control and outlet operations for the California-based Serena and Lily, said in an emailed statement.

She said the Hilton Head area was chosen for the outlet because the community and business share “a casual-yet-sophisticated aesthetic.”

On a recent day, the 5,200-square-foot Bluffton store was lined with racks of stacked sheet sets, duvets and blankets; pillows and shams; towels, and rolls of wallpaper.

The center of the store was dotted with rattan chairs that are a signature of Serena and Lily, lighting fixtures and pendants made from natural materials, and other indoor and outdoor furniture in neutral shades.

Pricing, while always at a discount, Ramirez said, is not a predetermined percentage. The price of an item will vary based on condition.

For example, a king-sized sheet set that sells for $398 on the Serena and Lily website was priced at $125 in the outlet. A teak beach chair that normally sells for $298 was marked $149.

All sales at the outlet store are final; no returns or refunds will be given. Payment is by credit card only, according to the store’s policies.

The outlet is one of only three Serena and Lily outlet locations and the only one on the East Coast. The others are in Berkeley, California, and Vacaville, California. The Serena and Lily Design Shop closest to the Lowcountry is in Atlanta.

The location in Bluffton will be open at least through January.

“There is potential for the pop-up to become a permanent outlet location,” Ramirez said.

What: Serena and Lily Outlet

Where: 1254 Fording Island Road, Suite 210, Bluffton SC 29910 (in Tanger Outlets 1 next to Jockey)

Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Website: www.serenaandlily.com/outlets-lp.html

‘Time to get out of the water’: SC shark sighting video goes viral. Here’s what happened

Jill Horner was enjoying a day out with her daughter Sunday afternoon during Labor Day weekend at Forest Beach on Hilton Head Island near the Alder Lane Beach Access point when, all of a sudden, she heard whistles blaring through the otherwise normal sounds of the beach.Horner, who moved to the area from Buffalo, N.Y., just 10 days prior for her new position as executive director for...

Jill Horner was enjoying a day out with her daughter Sunday afternoon during Labor Day weekend at Forest Beach on Hilton Head Island near the Alder Lane Beach Access point when, all of a sudden, she heard whistles blaring through the otherwise normal sounds of the beach.

Horner, who moved to the area from Buffalo, N.Y., just 10 days prior for her new position as executive director for Memory Matters, a local memory care company, was excited to experience her first real shark sighting. This was the first time she had encountered a shark ‘in the wild’ rather than behind a glass wall in an aquarium.

“Quite honestly, I was just nappin’ on the beach with my daughter who has come down here to visit,” Horner said.

“We heard the whistles. They (the lifeguards) were whistling at everybody to get out of the water because of the shark.”

Immediately, Horner beckoned to her daughter to retrieve her phone and take a video to share with her family. Later, she shared the video to Facebook thinking others would enjoy watching the experience just as much.

The shark in question was estimated to be “over 6 feet” by local lifeguards present at the scene and was said to be a blacktip shark. Although many on social media said it looked similar to that of a lemon shark due to the presence of a double dorsal fin, a few others mentioned the similarity to a sand tiger shark.

The shark Horner captured on video, however, was not the only one in the water.

At that time, four of these sharks were in the water just feet from the shore.

The sharks appeared to be swimming up and down the shore for “about a mile” and would then circle back.

People were evacuated from the water and a helicopter was monitoring the situation from the sky.

For Horner, the experience was as thrilling as it was educational regarding the habits of local sharks.

“The thing that probably struck me most was how shallow the water was and how close they came,” she said.

“While you get chased out of the water and you’re disappointed for a brief second, it is pretty neat.”

Horner commended the actions of the three lifeguards present at the scene and described them as “on top of it” and vigilant, helping those in the area. The lifeguards were said to answer any questions bystanders had and were the ones to label the sharks in the water as blacktips.

“I really appreciated that they (the lifeguards), you know, with little kids that got scared or with any family member that came up and got excited and asked them, they really took a couple minutes to talk to them which I thought was nice.”

The shark sightings at Forest Beach on Hilton Head Island made for an exciting Labor Day weekend for many visitors and locals alike. Videos of the sharks were posted to Facebook, yet Horner’s video was the one that garnered the most attention.

As of Friday morning, just five days after the video was initially posted, the original video on Facebook in the local “We love Hilton Head Island” group has grabbed over 51,200 views.

“It has gone viral. It was one of those weird things. I was excited to see sharks in their habitat,” Horner said.

The video was captioned, ‘Time to get out of the water.’

Many users took to the comments section of the post to comment about their own shark sightings on the island. Many were from just this year alone.

One user commented that just two weeks prior, their group had seen both a hammerhead and a nurse shark.

Another user commented, “I’ve never seen more sharks in my life than I did this week at HHI beach. Dozens of 4’-6’ sharks going airborne in feeding frenzies.”

As for Horner, she was grateful and excited to have this experience.

“I think people just have to be patient and appreciate Hilton Head Island and the wildlife. We all try to be engaged, but I think if you just take a minute and you look at a situation you can enjoy it that much more.

“I enjoyed filming the shark and seeing it in its habitat and I think that families need to take a minute and appreciate where you are.”

This story was originally published September 9, 2022 2:02 PM.

South Carolina Lawmaker Who Spearheaded Abortion Bill Enters Treatment Facility

A South Carolina state lawmaker who spearheaded passage of a total abortion ban in the state House of Representatives has reportedly checked himself into a treatment facility to deal with alleged substance abuse issues.Powerful S.C. House judiciary committee chairman Chris Murphy is receiving treatment for an undisclosed addiction, multiple sources familiar with the situation have confirmed to this news outlet....

A South Carolina state lawmaker who spearheaded passage of a total abortion ban in the state House of Representatives has reportedly checked himself into a treatment facility to deal with alleged substance abuse issues.

Powerful S.C. House judiciary committee chairman Chris Murphy is receiving treatment for an undisclosed addiction, multiple sources familiar with the situation have confirmed to this news outlet.

According to my sources, Murphy’s rehabilitation stint was mandated by S.C. speaker of the House Murrell Smith – who was made aware of several incidents involving the 54-year-old legislative leader over the past few weeks. One of those incidents? A rumored verbal altercation at a reception hosted last month by the McGown, Hood, Felder and Phillips law firm during the annual South Carolina Association for Justice (SCAJ) convention on Hilton Head Island (a.k.a. the “Murdaugh Mingle”).

News of that altercation was first reported by this news outlet.

It is not clear precisely when Murphy’s rehab stint began. The Honolulu, Hawai’i native was granted a leave of absence for medical reasons by Smith on August 30-31 as the House convened for the expressed purpose of taking up H. 5399 – the abortion bill which cleared his committee two weeks earlier.

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Obviously, Murphy’s efforts on the abortion bill were all for naught as this debate has reverted back to square one. Well, it has reverted back where it was earlier this year, anyway – when the U.S. supreme court struck down Roe v. Wade and effectively made the 2021 “heartbeat bill” the law of the state.

The 2021 legislation – which lawmakers incrementally adjusted during a special session this summer – was referred to the S.C. supreme court in late July for constitutional review. In fact, the state’s five supreme court justices temporarily enjoined the state from enforcing the 2021 bill in mid-August just as the legislative debate over a total abortion ban was ramping up.

Speaking of those justices …

Murphy, who represents North Charleston in the S.C. House, experienced another political setback this summer when his wife – S.C. circuit court judge Maite Murphy – withdrew her candidacy for a seat on the state supreme court.

Chris Murphy’s abrasive advocacy on behalf of his wife – whose name is pronounced “my-tay” – had created major headaches for House leaders. And unfortunately for them, her decision to remove her name from consideration for this seat has done nothing to resolve the larger issue with the way judges are chosen in the Palmetto State.

*****

DON’T MISS A STORY …

*****

South Carolina is one of only two states in the nation where lawmakers screen and vote on judges – a notoriously corrupt process which has rendered the judicial branch effectively impotent.

First, a legislatively controlled panel picks which judicial candidates are “qualified” and then submits these names to the legislature for a vote. Then, lawmakers engage in judicial horse-trading to ensure their preferred judges win the legislative elections.

It is notoriously corrupt … seedy … incestuous.

Thanks to this shady system, the judiciary in South Carolina has become little more than an annex of the legislature … or more precisely, of the powerful lawyer-legislators who install their cronies as judges (and then reap the benefits of this influence).

Unless lawmakers fix the system, we will continue to see a judicial branch which administers one brand of justice for the wealthy and well-connected … and another for the rest of us. And we will continue to see public safety – and the rights of victims – erode precipitously.

Murphy needs to be held accountable for his role in that process … and I will continue to hold him accountable. For now, though, I hope he gets better.

As a recovering addict myself, I wish Murphy every success in his struggle … especially if his addiction was a consequence of the recent illnesses he endured, illnesses which kept him (and his committee) out of commission for several months.

*****

(Via: FITSNews)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to address proactively? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.

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Visitors, residents celebrate Labor Day on Hilton Head Island

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, Sc. (WTOC) - People are celebrating Labor Day all over our area today, including on the beaches on Hilton Head Island.It’s more crowded than it was earlier in the day but still less packed than you might expect for the last big holiday of summer. Some folks came out despite the weather for a bunch of different reasons.”Labor Day always a beach somewhere. This is our first time to Hilton Head Island in many years,” said Cindy Perfater.She’s happy to be back with family and frien...

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, Sc. (WTOC) - People are celebrating Labor Day all over our area today, including on the beaches on Hilton Head Island.

It’s more crowded than it was earlier in the day but still less packed than you might expect for the last big holiday of summer. Some folks came out despite the weather for a bunch of different reasons.

”Labor Day always a beach somewhere. This is our first time to Hilton Head Island in many years,” said Cindy Perfater.

She’s happy to be back with family and friends. To no surprise, that’s a common theme out here.

”We’re here to do like a celebration, it was his birthday and obviously it’s Labor Day so we want to make sure we’re out here having some fun. We’re from East Tennessee so we wanted to come out here and enjoy the beach,” said Justin Karsten and Drew Devoti.

Those guys aren’t letting the weather rain on their parade and neither is this one.

”It’s still better than being inside or anywhere else. Even if it’s raining it’s still the beach,” said Gordon Perfater.

Shore beach service says they’re ready to keep you safe no matter how many other people are out here with you.

”We’ve got lifeguards stationed on the beach, we had a few come in for the weekend from school, so we’re ready for people so just swim near a lifeguard. It’s been a relatively calm weekend. One of the biggest things we usually see is kids getting lost, so the lifeguards spend a lot of time reuniting, but we really didn’t have that this weekend which was kind of nice,” said Mike Wagner, operations manager with Shore Beach Service.

The dog ordinance on the beaches of Hilton Head switches tomorrow so you’ll be able to bring your dog out here during the day on a leash and in the morning or at night. They can roam freely as long as they are trained to respond to your voice.

As daytime celebrations of Labor Day wind down and folks get ready for their night plans to take shape, some spots say the weekend was a little crazy, with crowds coming in nonstop from open till close.

Today, it’s calmed down a bit, but at the Ice Cream Cone they are giving these last few hours of summer business all they’ve got.

”It’s been a fantastic year and it’s the last big weekend so we have one last big push. We had some of the girls come in from college to help work, we were back at full staff for this one last big weekend and then we gear into our kinda offseason,” said Peter Savarese, owner of the Ice Cream Cone.

Pete said on Sunday, specifically, they had a line around the corner that went for about 50 yards.

Copyright 2022 WTOC. All rights reserved.

‘I’m sick of words on paper’: Hilton Head evictions spark call for tangible action

Dozens of Hilton Head residents packed into the Town Council chambers for Tuesday morning’s special meeting called to address the Aug. 12 evictions at Chimney Cove Village, and the shortage of affordable housing on the island.Many in attendance were community leaders eager to share what they or their groups had done — or could do — for residents still in need of aid. Others simply shared suggestions for council leaders to consider as the town navigates what Ward 2 Councilman Bill Harkins called an “immediate cr...

Dozens of Hilton Head residents packed into the Town Council chambers for Tuesday morning’s special meeting called to address the Aug. 12 evictions at Chimney Cove Village, and the shortage of affordable housing on the island.

Many in attendance were community leaders eager to share what they or their groups had done — or could do — for residents still in need of aid. Others simply shared suggestions for council leaders to consider as the town navigates what Ward 2 Councilman Bill Harkins called an “immediate crisis” of housing on the island.

Suggestions differed in how exactly to solve Hilton Head’s housing issue, with some championing public-private partnerships and others acknowledging the impact escalating short-term rentals have had on driving up rents across Hilton Head. Each attendee shared the sentiment that tangible action is needed quickly.

No one highlighted that more poignantly than Ward 1 Councilman Alex Brown. While Hilton Head has been quick to address problems like beach erosion on the island and its potential impact to tourism, he said, “Time and time again” [the] Town Council has put off swift action on housing.

“When we start to talk about having an equitable situation for all of our residents on Hilton Head, from the highest to the lowest income levels, we do nothing,” he said. “We’ve got $1 million in the bank that we’re going to put towards North Point (workforce housing), but that’s not our money. The feds sent us that money.”

Assistant Town Manager Shawn Colin reported on some of the steps Hilton Head has previously taken to assuage housing needs. In 2020, the council approved incentives for developers to repurpose underutilized commercial spaces to housing. It also amended town codes in 2021 to allow higher-density housing under certain conditions.

“Obviously (the town’s previous efforts) weren’t enough, because if it was, we wouldn’t have a room full of people standing in front of us this morning,” Brown said. “Quite frankly, I’m sick of words on paper. I’m ready for us to start taking some action.”

Colin acknowledged there is a housing need at all income levels. He’s worked for Hilton Head for 16 years, he said, and has commuted to the island the entire time.

Ward 6 Councilman Glenn Stanford echoed Brown’s frustrations.

“I’ve been on council now for about four years, we’ve been talking about workforce housing during all of that time,” Stanford said. “This is not a new subject.”

Stanford said he feels the town should prioritize purchasing land to be used for another public-private partnership, similar to the workforce housing project on the island’s North End.

Town Manager Marc Orlando said proposals from the final seven firms being considered for the project are due the first week of October.

Impact fees associated with building housing could be another obstacle to development, Stanford said.

“I am willing to support eliminating some of those fees, reducing some of those fees, (or) supplementing some of those fees in order to promote and encourage housing,” Stanford said.

He also suggested eliminating problems in the town’s land management ordinance, including issues on the definition of a unit.

There is still a number of “not in my back yard” residents on the island who won’t be in favor of building workforce and affordable housing, Harkins acknowledged. The council and other residents in favor of the developments will need to serve as “catalysts and conveners” to bring others on board, he said.

Economically, Harkins said there is a tangible impact to keeping workers on the island — and a substantial penalty for not investing in workers.

That investment will have to come quickly, he said. Although the residents of Chimney Cove were given a reprieve after their eviction notices were rescinded on Sept. 1, Harkins said the property is still likely to sell in the future, and tenants will be forced to leave.

“It’s going to happen. Once an owner decides to liquidate, the first buyer didn’t work out, I’m sure there are others in the queue,” Harkins said. “We have an immediate crisis. ... That gives us the opportunity and the facility, maybe, to cut through some of the morass we have to follow as part of government and do something immediately.”

Chimney Cove residents were given 30 days notice to get out. When that sale does eventually come however, Orlando said the town must reinforce that 30-days notice isn’t acceptable.

“The message needs to be loud and clear, 30-days notice to residents is not enough notice in our community, plain and simple,” Orlando said.

The impact of property owners using their apartments or homes solely for short-term rentals has been linked to rising rent costs by studies from the Economic Policy Institute and Harvard Business Review. Orlando said this effect has been apparent on Hilton Head.

“It’s obvious. I do not have an agenda here, but short-term rental conversion on Hilton Head Island has affected the long-term rental options,” Orlando said. “I have nothing against the rental market ... but that has affected a supply-and-demand issue on our island.”

The town has passed minor regulations on short-term rentals, including requirements for property owners to buy a $250 annual permit for each property being rented short-term. Orlando said further solutions could include adjusting a millage rate for property taxes.

There is still a balance to be struck for respecting property rights, Orlando said, and the nature of property transactions.

Orlando called upon council to formalize a town plan for situations such as Chimney Cove to give residents more security.

The town could utilize the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program, which aids very low-income, disabled and elderly residents in need of affordable housing.

“We need to sign a letter and ask for some vouchers,” Orlando said. “We know that there’s some funds out there.”

As the meeting’s final speaker, Mayor John McCann reflected on how the severity of the situation at Chimney Cove is one of the only reasons the community has engaged with difficult realities that many islanders don’t often think about.

“There’s still a lot of people that are hungry ... there’s still a lot of homeless people. We don’t even talk about those things,” McCann said. “We don’t talk about anything that makes us uncomfortable. We talk about Chimney Cove because it’s in the paper.”

The remaining few months of his mayoral term should focus on “one or two big things,” McCann said.

“We need something that we can feel and touch, so the community can say, ‘God, they really are doing something.’”

McCann said the town should hold a referendum for residents to decide how much funding is set aside each year toward housing costs, like buying land and construction of units.

“We need an action,” the mayor said. “We need a win for the town — not for us, because we’re leaving — but a win for the town.”

This story was originally published September 6, 2022 2:16 PM.

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