Best Cheap Health Insurance in South Carolina (2024)

At $413 per month, the Clear Silver plan from Ambetter from Absolute Total Care is the best cheap health insurance plan in South Carolina.

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Ambetter from Absolute Total Care Clear Silver is the cheapest Silver health insurance policy in most of South Carolina. At $413 per month, it is 24% cheaper per month compared to the state average.

South Carolina health insurance costs an average of $541 per month for a 40-year-old with a Silver plan.

BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) of South Carolina is the highest-rated company in South Carolina. It is also the most popular, with over 8 in 10 people enrolled. However, it is also the most expensive.

How much does health insurance cost in South Carolina?

Health insurance costs an average of $541 per month in South Carolina for a 40-year-old with a Silver plan.

Lower-tier policies, like Bronze, have the most affordable rates. However, in exchange for this low monthly cost, you will be paying more out of pocket than if you had a higher-tier policy.

Average cost of health insurance in South Carolina

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Monthly health insurance rates are largely based on coverage tier and the ages of those covered by the plan. A higher metal tier would mean paying more per month but less when you get care. On the other hand, as you get older, your rates increase across all metal tiers.

For example, a 60-year-old would pay $638 more per month, on average, for a Gold plan compared to a 40-year-old.

Cheapest health insurance in SC

Tier
Cheapest plan
Monthly cost
Catastrophic BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina BlueEssentials Catastrophic 1 $223
Bronze First Choice Next Bronze Classic 9450 + No-Referrals $303
Silver Ambetter from Absolute Total Care Clear Silver $413
Gold Ambetter from Absolute Total Care Standard Gold $433

Monthly costs are for a 40-year-old.

The Bronze plan from First Choice Next costs $303 per month, which is $110 less than the monthly premium for the Silver plan from Ambetter. But that could mean paying $4,050 more for the year if you're in a big accident or have a serious illness.

Finding your best health insurance coverage in South Carolina

The cheapest health insurance plans in South Carolina vary by county. For example, the cheapest Silver plan for a 40-year-old in Charleston is $413 per month, whereas the cheapest Silver plan for a 40-year-old in Greenville, the highest-populated county, is $516 per month.

Higher metal tier health plans, like Gold policies, have more expensive monthly rates but cover more with lower deductibles, copays and coinsurance. This means if you have high recurring medical costs or you think you may become sick, a higher metal tier plan may be the best option.

On the other hand, if you are young, healthy and have no expected medical costs — and would prefer a lower monthly premium — a lower metal tier policy may save you money.

Gold plans: Best for high expected medical costs

The cheapest Gold plan in South Carolina is the Ambetter from Absolute Total Care Standard Gold.

Gold plans are best if you have high expected medical costs or don't want to pay out of pocket for an unexpected condition. Although the monthly premiums are generally higher than with other tiers, they offer lower deductibles and copays. If you use or expect to use your insurance often, Gold plans will typically come with the lowest overall costs.

Silver plans: Best for those with a low income or average medical costs

The cheapest Silver plan in South Carolina is the Ambetter from Absolute Total Care Clear Silver.

Silver plans have higher monthly rates than Bronze and Catastrophic plans but lower rates than Gold plans. With a Silver plan, you may also qualify for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies, which would further lower your out-of-pocket expenses.

Silver plans typically cover about 70% of your health care costs, leaving you to pay 30%. But with CSR subsidies, you could qualify for a Silver plan that covers up to 94% of your health care costs, depending on your income.

Bronze and Catastrophic plans: Best for young, healthy people

The cheapest Bronze plan in South Carolina is the First Choice Next Bronze Classic 9450 + No-Referrals. The cheapest Catastrophic plan is the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina BlueEssentials Catastrophic 1.

Bronze and Catastrophic plans are the cheapest tiers of coverage you can buy. However, you must be under 30 or qualify for an exemption to buy a Catastrophic plan. Also, Catastrophic plans are not eligible for premium tax credits.

Bronze plans are open to everyone. However, you'll pay more out of pocket for health care before coverage kicks in. These policies might not be best unless you have some savings in the case of a medical emergency.

Medicaid: Best for people with low incomes

If you make less than about $15,000 as a single person or $25,000 as a family of three, Medicaid might be the best health insurance option. Medicaid is a federal program reserved for people with low incomes. You might also qualify if you are pregnant or under age 19, even if you make more.

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Are health insurance rates going up in South Carolina?

The average cost of a health plan for 2024 is 11%, or $45 per month, more expensive than it was for 2023.

Premiums increased for three of the four tiers. While rates decreased for Catastrophic plans, the cost of Bronze health plans increased by 13%, or $47 per month, for a 40-year-old. The average price for Silver and Gold policies increased by 15% and 13%, respectively. This means you would pay $72 more per month for a Silver plan and $65 more per month for a Gold plan.

Tier
2022
2023
2024
Change (2023 to 2024)
Bronze$291$367$41413%
Silver$436$469$54115%
Gold$464$503$56813%
Show All Rows

Monthly costs are for a 40-year-old.

Best cheap health insurance companies in South Carolina

BlueCross BlueShield is the highest-rated company in South Carolina. In addition to its four-star rating, it is also the most popular plan in South Carolina, with more than 8 in 10 residents enrolled in a BCBS plan. However, at $585 per month, BCBS is more expensive on average than other companies.

Company
Cost
BlueCross BlueShield  logo
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
$585
Cigna logo
Cigna Healthcare of South Carolina
$578
Ambetter logo
Ambetter from Absolute Total Care
$508
Molina logo
Molina HealthcareNot yet rated$532
First Choice Next logo
First Choice NextNot yet rated$534

Average monthly cost for a 40-year-old buying a Silver plan in SC. Ratings are based on editor reviews of the company.

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

The county where you live in South Carolina will determine the health insurance companies and plans available.

County
Cheapest Silver plan
Monthly rate
AbbevilleAmbetter from Absolute Total Care Clear Silver$420
AikenAmbetter from Absolute Total Care Clear Silver$455
AllendaleMolina Healthcare Silver 1$477
AndersonAmbetter from Absolute Total Care Clear Silver$516
BambergAmbetter from Absolute Total Care Clear Silver$443
Show All Rows

Cheapest Silver plan with rates for a 40-year-old

Average cost of health insurance by family size in South Carolina

The average cost of health insurance for a family of three with two 40-year-old parents and a child on a Silver plan is $1,407 per month in South Carolina. For each child, the average cost of a Silver health plan increases by $324, so a family of four with two 40-year-olds and two children would pay $1,731 per month on average.

Family size
Average monthly cost
Individual and child$865
Couple, age 40$1,083
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,407
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,731
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$2,055

The size of your family will have a big impact on how much you pay for health insurance, in part based on the number of people who need coverage and their ages. The cost of coverage is the same for children who are 14 and younger. Once a child turns 15 years old, the cost of coverage will increase as they get older.

Short-term health insurance in South Carolina

South Carolina residents have the option to buy short-term health insurance plans. However, each plan can only last up to 11 months and can only be renewed twice after your first policy.

A short-term health policy could be an option if you miss the open enrollment period or lose the health insurance plan from your employer. Unlike qualified health insurance policies, short-term plans are not required to cover the 10 essential benefits.

Methodology

The health insurance rates and plan information used in this analysis were pulled from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. ValuePenguin then calculated the average rates in South Carolina by plan tier, age, family size and county from cost data in the CMS public use files (PUFs). Plans and providers for which county-level data was included in the CMS Crosswalk file were used in our analysis; those excluded from this data set may not appear.

Editorial note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.