South Carolina shoppers on the federal health insurance marketplace have more choices than last year and average prices haven’t gone up, according to statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Those statistics match similar numbers released last month by the S.C. Department of Insurance. The plans offered through the federal exchange have to be approved by the state agency.
The average number of plans available in a county in South Carolina is 59, up from 25 last year. Shoppers in some counties have more choices. You can window-shop without going through the application process at www.healthcare.gov.
The four companies that offered policies in South Carolina last year – BlueCross BlueShield of SC, BlueChoice HealthPlan, Coventry One and Consumers’ Choice Health Plan – returned and nearly doubled their plan options. One new company joined the S.C. market – Assurant Health – but its premiums are much higher than the other four companies.
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Plans are offered at various levels – platinum, gold, silver, bronze and catastrophic – based on what percentage of your health care they cover. The federal statistics compared prices for the second-least expensive silver plan in each state in 2013 and 2014. In South Carolina, the average premium for that benchmark plan remained the same. Overall, premiums for all plans increased less than 1 percent, according to the state insurance department.