The Cheapest (and Best) Health Insurance in Charleston, SC (2023)

Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and Molina Healthcare are the best insurers in Charleston, charging around $374 and $234 per month, respectively, for a 40-year-old policyholder.

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Ensure you're getting the best rate for your health insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.

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Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 1/20/2023
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The cost of health insurance is influenced by your city, age, plan type and the number of insured members. To find the cheapest health insurance policies in Charleston, MoneyGeek evaluated the available market data.

MoneyGeek also found the best health insurance companies in Charleston based on customer service, plan options and affordability.

To discover the best value for your needs, we advise shopping around as not all health providers provide the same plan types or metal tiers. Also, if there’s only one insurer in your area, choose the best metal tier for your needs.

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METHODOLOGY

Best Overall and Runner-Up

For the best overall and runner-up, MoneyGeek evaluated cost, customer satisfaction and plan data obtained from the Health Insurance Exchange Public Use Files, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index to establish recommendations. Categories were weighted 55% for cost, 35% for customer service and 10% for plan options.

Best Cheap

In most cases, plans were aggregated to generate the estimated costs for any given company. Although the represented data shows the average premiums for any given section, specific company plans will vary in price. Unless otherwise stated, rates reflect the cost for a 40-year-old individual.

Best Overall Health Insurance in Charleston

When selecting a health insurance plan, price should not be the only consideration. If you want to choose the ideal provider for your circumstances, it's important to take into account plan options, provider networks and customer support.

Based on our analysis of providers, MoneyGeek concluded that Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina is the best provider of health insurance in Charleston overall. It received an overall score of 85 out of 100 from our scoring system.

Best Health Insurance in Charleston

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

pros

Affordable compared to other competitors in the city

Excellent customer service support rating

Offers Medicare

Offers the largest provider network in the state

cons

Limited metal tier options

Benefits for coverage are provided in-network only

Cannot pay premiums with cash

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

South Carolina's Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association that was founded in 1946. It has a large number of affiliated companies, many of which are situated in Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and South Carolina. Some of them offer insurance products like life insurance, while others administer contracts for the federal government. Others focus on technology.

This health insurance company gives additional options to its members by providing a wide range of health plans, discounts, enhanced benefits and online services, with options to suit every budget and lifestyle. Additionally, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina has above-average scores for customer satisfaction.

Health Insurance in Charleston Runner-Up

Molina Healthcare came in second for the best health insurance in Charleston, receiving a MoneyGeek rating of 66 out of 100. It scored well in plan options and affordability but lower in customer service.

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Health Insurance Runner-Up
Molina Healthcare

Molina Healthcare was established in 1980 and has operations in 20 states, including South Carolina. This organization has excellent pricing ratings and is a reputable choice for affordable health insurance in Charleston. It also has multiple metal tiers available. Plans with minimal deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses are available from Molina Healthcare.

Benefits of the service include access to a 24-hour nurse advice hotline, coverage for over-the-counter medications, dentistry, hearing and vision care and, up to certain limitations, hospital transportation. Except in cases of emergency, Molina Healthcare does not offer coverage for out-of-network services.

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HOW TO FIND CHEAP HEALTH INSURANCE

Metal tiers, with Bronze being the least expensive and Platinum being the most costly, are used to categorize marketplace plans. Those under the age of 30 or with low incomes could qualify for Catastrophic coverage.

MoneyGeek suggests that you start by looking into Bronze or Catastrophic plans to find the most affordable medical insurance in Charleston. Just be sure that the plans cover all of your medical requirements. Otherwise, consider Silver plans that offer subsidies.

Cheapest Health Insurance in Charleston for Individuals

Your share of the cost of medical care with the insurance company will affect your health insurance premiums in Charleston. Rates often differ at the city and state levels. The best health insurance company isn't always the cheapest, and you may have to pay extra for superior customer support and flexible plans.

It's best to understand the connections between market metal tiers, premiums and maximum out-of-pocket payments (MOOP) if affordability is a top priority. In general, your MOOP will be higher the lower your premium is. Watch out for deductibles, copays and co-insurance costs that are not covered by your premium.

The most affordable rates for metal levels are found in the Bronze plans. However, even if you have coverage for unfortunate occurrences, you might not have enough coverage for regular medical requirements.

Examples of costs for metal tiers in Charleston are provided in the table below.

Cheapest Health Insurance in Charleston for Individuals by Metal Tier
  • Metal Tier
    Company
    Monthly Premium
  • Catastrophic

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina

    $234

  • Bronze

    Molina Healthcare

    $302

  • Expanded Bronze

    Molina Healthcare

    $310

  • Silver

    Molina Healthcare

    $417

  • Gold

    Molina Healthcare

    $468

Expanded Bronze plans are offered by some providers. These policies cover at least one major service before you reach your deductible and provide somewhat greater coverage than standard Bronze plans.

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UNDERSTANDING HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS

If you find it difficult to understand the many components of health care expenses. Here are the important definitions you should know.

  • Premium: The predetermined monthly cost for your insurance coverage is your premium.
  • Deductible: The sum that you must pay for medical treatment before the provider starts deducting its part is your deductible.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum: This is the maximum amount you should anticipate paying for health care services on top of your premium, often known as the MOOP.
  • Co-Insurance: This is the cost percentage you pay for health treatment or medical procedures after you've reached your deductible.
  • Copay: Each time you see a doctor or fill a prescription, you must pay this set fee.

How Age Affects Health Insurance Costs in Charleston

Age has a big impact on health insurance costs, no matter where you reside. Health insurance premiums rise to cover the anticipated increases in services because as people age, their health care needs tend to increase.

The most economical plans will usually be Bronze or Expanded Bronze. Make sure the network of the insurer works for you before selecting one of these options. If you don't, you risk underutilizing your health insurance plan and paying out of cash for out-of-network care.

MoneyGeek provides the most affordable health insurance providers in Charleston for each age group in the table below. Catastrophic plans were not included in this table due to their eligibility requirements.

Cheapest Health Insurance in Charleston by Age
  • Age
    Company
    Monthly Premium
  • 18

    Molina Healthcare

    $216

  • 26

    Molina Healthcare

    $242

  • 40

    Molina Healthcare

    $302

  • 60

    Molina Healthcare

    $642

Cheapest Health Insurance in Charleston for Families

The number of people on your health insurance plan also affects rates. The more people you add, the more expensive your monthly premium will be. However, family health insurance policies are typically less expensive than covering each member alone.

If you're searching for affordable family health insurance plans in Charleston, MoneyGeek compiled the average cost of health insurance premiums by family size and metal level.

Cheapest Premiums for Family Health Insurance
  • Metal Tier
    Family of Three
    Family of Four
    Family of Five
    Family of Six
  • Catastrophic

    $608

    $749

    $889

    $1,029

  • Bronze

    $785

    $966

    $1,147

    $1,328

  • Expanded Bronze

    $806

    $992

    $1,178

    $1,364

  • Silver

    $1,084

    $1,334

    $1,584

    $1,834

  • Gold

    $1,215

    $1,495

    $1,775

    $2,055

How to Find Cheap Health Insurance in Charleston

Everyone doesn't need the same type of health insurance. Instead, look for a health insurance provider in Charleston with plans that accommodate your needs and your budget.

For instance, if you don't think you'll need medical care in a given year, a high-deductible plan with a low premium may be suitable for you. On the other hand, if you anticipate needing more intensive treatment, purchasing a higher premium can be worthwhile because you'll have to spend less out of pocket.

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SHORT-TERM HEALTH INSURANCE

When there is a gap in your insurance coverage, like when you’re waiting for open enrollment or the benefits of a new job, short-term health insurance may be a cost-effective solution.

However, those with pre-existing ailments may not always be accepted by short-term health insurance. Also, even though they generally have cheap monthly rates, some plans feature hefty copays and co-insurance, which drive up the cost of care.

Furthermore, tax credits and subsidies are not available with these types of plans.

Health Insurance Subsidies and Income-Based Assistance

You could qualify for financial aid or a health insurance subsidy to lower the cost of your premiums depending on your income level. Those whose income is at least 100% of the federal poverty level, or FPL, can get health insurance subsidies. For 2022, the American Rescue Plan temporarily delayed the provision that stipulates that subsidy recipients must have an income of 400% of the FPL.

For individuals whose income disqualifies them from receiving subsidies, there are still options, including Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Depending on your state, if your income is between 100 and 150% of the FPL, you could be eligible for Medicaid.

Finding the Best Health Insurance in Charleston

The most affordable health insurance plan may not necessarily be the best option. Choosing a plan with the lowest premium might end up costing you more money in the long term, especially if you regularly require medical care.

Tips for Finding the Right Coverage for You

Depending on the insurer, the coverage benefits, networks and fees might differ. MoneyGeek outlines the steps you need to take to compare health insurance plans and select the most suitable choice for your particular medical requirements.

1

Know Where to Start

You can get health insurance in Charleston through your job, your parents (if you are under the age of 26), the health insurance exchange or the government.

2

Mark the Enrollment Deadlines

Marketplace plans are often only offered for purchase or exchange during open enrollment. The deadlines for open enrollment should be noted because they typically only last a few weeks each year. Keep in mind that qualifying circumstances exist, which may allow you to go into special enrollment.

3

Understand Your Health Care Needs

It is essential to identify your needs in order to choose the optimal health care plan. From there, you can check the summary of benefits for a plan to see whether they meet your needs. Also, evaluate a plan's network to see if your chosen physicians or specialists are included.

4

Review Costs

You may prepare a budget that works for you by evaluating the plan’s premium, copay, co-insurance and deductible. For instance, a lower premium typically results in a higher maximum out-of-pocket expense (MOOP). If you're still not sure which plan to get, Silver plans provide a solid middle ground. Also, flat fees are usually better than a percentage of co-insurance.

5

Check Your Prescriptions

Always verify that the plan you have selected covers the prescription medications you require.

6

Choose Your Plan

The most affordable health insurance option might not be ideal for everyone. However, you are free to buy the most economical plan if you are satisfied with the level of coverage it provides.

Frequently Asked Questions About Health Insurance in Charleston

Shopping for health insurance can be confusing. MoneyGeek addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about health insurance in Charleston to help you find a plan.

About the Author


Brenna Kelly headshot

Brenna Kelly is a content manager at MoneyGeek specializing in health insurance. She has extensive experience in the content production field and is a licensed health insurance agent. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts.


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