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:




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.

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 8 organizations which offer 82 products in your area. Please contact, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get information on all of your options.

Latest News in Hilton Head, SC

Tom Peeples, consensus-building former Hilton Head mayor and home builder, dies at 71

Tom Peeples, Hilton Head Island’s mayor for 15 years and council member for six years before that, died late Saturday from complications after spinal surgery earlier in the week. He was 71.He is the only mayor in Hilton Head’s history to be reelected for more than one term, serving three terms between 1995 and 2010, when he stepped down. He also is the only native of the Lowcountry to become mayor since the island incorporated in 1983.Peeples owned a home-building company, Tom Peeples Builder, on the island from 197...

Tom Peeples, Hilton Head Island’s mayor for 15 years and council member for six years before that, died late Saturday from complications after spinal surgery earlier in the week. He was 71.

He is the only mayor in Hilton Head’s history to be reelected for more than one term, serving three terms between 1995 and 2010, when he stepped down. He also is the only native of the Lowcountry to become mayor since the island incorporated in 1983.

Peeples owned a home-building company, Tom Peeples Builder, on the island from 1978 until his retirement in 2021.

He and his wife, Mary Ann, lived in Hilton Head Plantation. They would have celebrated 52 years of marriage in June, said their son, Josh.

In 2011, Tom Peeples was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the state of South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, and in 2012 he was grand marshal of the Hilton Head St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

He initially filed to run for the mayoral position again in 2018 but withdrew his name before the election.

“My time as mayor was the most humbling and defining experience of my life,” Tom Peeples said in a news release at the time. “I am forever grateful for the opportunity and for the friendships I forged then and enjoy today.”

Tom Peeples was born and reared in Ridgeland but worked on Hilton Head with his father, who sold goods door to door starting in the 1940s, long before there was a bridge to the island.

His legacy will come not just from growing up on the island but helping to build it as well, said Josh Peeples. “He did a million things that nobody saw.”

Josh Peeples recalled his father coaching and being an advocate for youth sports facilities among his many other grassroots community contributions. Tom Peeples helped build facilities at Barker Field.

“He was an amazing father,” Josh said.

“He always wanted to volunteer. ... He was always about putting in the man hours. He was a much bigger believer in showing up and putting in the time whether people saw it or not.”

Paula Harper Bethea of Hilton Head worked with Tom Peeples on his campaigns. She described him as honest, trustworthy, hard-working and courageous.

“Everything that he did as mayor for our island, he always had in mind ... how would it affect the greater community,” she said.

“He was a wonderful friend. ... He made me better, but he didn’t just make me better, he made the island better.”

As mayor, Tom Peeples was known as a consensus builder.

Steve Riley, former longtime Hilton Head town manager, said Peeples spent a lot of time calling council members and talking to community leaders to ask what he could do to bring them on board.

“He was always shooting for that consensus plan,” Riley said. “He worked very hard in the background to get support among civic groups and to bring (town) staff along.”

Riley said many people may not realize how Peeples’ vision and understanding of construction shaped the town that exists today.

“He championed the idea of working with Palmetto Electric to bury all the power lines on the island,” Riley explained. This would prove to be a major benefit after Hurricane Matthew.

Among Peoples’ other successes:

In 2010, just before he ended his last term as mayor, he talked to the Packet about what he saw as his greatest accomplishment.

“The town’s Land Acquisition Program,” he said. “The protection and development of Honey Horn as our museum is at the top of that list of benefits from that program.”

And his biggest disappointment? That was not having been able to fund a long-term home for a law enforcement center. “That was something we looked at doing for a decade,” he said.

When he retired from his construction business in 2021, land acquisition was still on his mind. He offered this advice for Hilton Head’s leaders, according an Island Packet column at the time: Don’t give away land the town bought to widen U.S. 278 on the north end.

“If we have to just give our land to the highway department for free, that’s not right,” he told the newspaper. “They should buy it, and we use the money to buy more land.”

In a statement released Monday, Hilton Head’s current Mayor Alan Perry lauded Tom Peeples’ vision for Hilton Head.

“I am truly saddened by the loss of a man who meant so much to the Town of Hilton Head Island,” Perry said. “Tom Peeples helped lay a foundation for the Island we know and love today. ... He did everything he could to not just build for that future but also protect the natural environment that makes Hilton Head Island so special.

“He was truly a local legend and will be missed dearly,” Perry said.

A celebration of life is planned from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Honey Horn on Hilton Head.

This story was originally published April 22, 2024, 2:52 PM.

Here are the 5 best pizza restaurants on Hilton Head SC for 2024, Tripadvisor says

Hungry for pizza? With all the different kinds, many pizza lovers have their preferences.However, many seem able to agree on the top five on a popular travel site.Without including local food trucks, here are the five best pizza spots on Hilton Head Island, according to an updated list from April 2024 f...

Hungry for pizza? With all the different kinds, many pizza lovers have their preferences.

However, many seem able to agree on the top five on a popular travel site.

Without including local food trucks, here are the five best pizza spots on Hilton Head Island, according to an updated list from April 2024 from Tripadvisor.

Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta House Shelter Cove

Giuseppi’s Pizza in Shelter Cove ranks fifth among the top pizza locales on Hilton Head. Although one of three locations total, of which two lie on the island, the Shelter Cove spot ranked the highest on the popular travel recommendation site. The restaurant has been serving pizzas, pastas, subs, wings and more since 1984 and has gained notoriety and awards along the way.

The Shelter Cove location can be found mid-island at 50 Shelter Cove Lane and is open daily from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Giuseppi’s Pizza also does delivery and pickup for those who do not wish to sit inside.

Bella Italia Pizza

Ranked fourth, Bella Italia can be found in Port Royal Shopping Center, located at 95 Mathews Drive, and serves specialty and gluten-free pizza pies as well as subs and other Italian entrees. The pizza parlor is open Tuesday through Sunday starting at 4:30 p.m. for those who wish to place a pickup order or choose to dine in.

Local Pie Hilton Head

Local Pie on the island placed in third overall for having the best pizza on Hilton Head. Local Pie Wood Fired Pizza has two locations in the area with the other being stationed in Old Town Bluffton. The Hilton Head locale can be found at 55 New Orleans Road daily for select hours. The establishment has won several accolades throughout the years and is the first and only true Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza on Hilton Head Island, according to their website.

Fat Babies Pizza & Subs

Ranked second overall, Fat Babies Pizza and Subs is a counter-service locale that specializes in making thin-crust pies and sandwiches in a relaxed setting. The laid-back pizza spot can be found on the south end of the island at 1034 William Hilton Parkway and is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

One Tripadvisor reviewer described it as having the best pizza on Hilton Head and continued, “We have had pizza from a few different places on Hilton Head and Fat Baby’s has the best pizza. It is a wood-fired pizza so the crust is thin and crispy! It’s a must-stop in Hilton Head if you want pizza.”

Dough Boys

Finally, ranked as the best pizza on Hilton Head Island on Tripadvisor, Dough Boys is described as being an intimate joint that features classic and unique style pizzas, sandwiches and calzones.

Found at 1 New Orleans Road and open daily for select hours, Dough Boys is a family-owned establishment serving the best pizza on the island, according to their website, and has been in business since December 2013. The pizza hot spot offers a small, comfortable restaurant that offers guests the opportunity to dine in, order takeout and island-wide delivery.

For those who want a firsthand account of the reviews given to Dough Boys, Tripadvisor holds a collection of positive feedback from the local pizza locale, some including pictures of the order.

Hilton Head is trying to Band-Aid its beach parking problem. Here’s the latest proposal

Cars lap — one time, two times, three times — around the Hilton Head Piggy Wiggly parking lot. It’s the weekend and owner David Martin stands outside, watching people scour for a spot. Once they park, they don’t pull out shopping bags and grocery lists. Instead, out come umbrellas and folding chairs. They’re beach goers, not shoppers, and they walk past the store, past the packed Coligny Beach Park lot and across the street to the ocean.Martin, who has lived on the island for decades, compared beach parki...

Cars lap — one time, two times, three times — around the Hilton Head Piggy Wiggly parking lot. It’s the weekend and owner David Martin stands outside, watching people scour for a spot. Once they park, they don’t pull out shopping bags and grocery lists. Instead, out come umbrellas and folding chairs. They’re beach goers, not shoppers, and they walk past the store, past the packed Coligny Beach Park lot and across the street to the ocean.

Martin, who has lived on the island for decades, compared beach parking on Hilton Head to the Wild West. More than 3.1 million people visit the town throughout the year and there are about 37,660 full-time residents. Where those people leave their cars when they go to the beach has become an issue. Busy parking lots during tourist season, or events, harm businesses by taking away parking for customers in their private lots, frustrate those who can’t find a spot, and can be unsafe for vehicles and pedestrians.

For decades, Martin said he can remember Hilton Head trying to wrangle the issue. Currently, the town is hung up discussing how to implement an electronic parking program that’s been in the work for at least four years, according to Deputy Town Manager Josh Gruber.

The most recent proposal, presented to the Community Services and Public Safety Committee by town staff in April, includes implementing paid parking at two beaches (not Coligny) that were previously free, increasing fees to $5 per hour and gating some beaches. The proposal wouldn’t privatize the beaches, which are public under South Carolina’s Public Trust Doctrine, but it would put up barriers to entry.

It’s an attempt by the town to mitigate a larger issue: its beach parking lots don’t have enough capacity. There are 1,155 beach visitor parking spots on Hilton Head for its estimated 8,500 visitors per day, not including including second-home owners or workers. Not every visitor is going to the beach, or driving a car, but the numbers point towards a parking supply shortage.

“This demand far exceeds the supply. In some way we have to reduce demand until we can increase supply,” Council member Steve Alfred said. Previously, the town has discussed a multi-level parking garage — which about 60% of residents, business owners and visitors disapproved of in a 2020 town survey — or offsite parking with shuttle transportation. “But that’s not going to happen this year or next year,” Alfred said. “So we have to deal with the situation for now.”

In addition to trying to alleviate stress on the island’s short supply of spaces, fees would fund the electronic program. Gruber said the plan would allow visitors to track which lots are full and the town to enforce parking more efficiently, reducing traffic. Contracted employees monitor the lots on a rotating basis, except for Islanders Beach Park, which is manned and is mostly permit parking for residents.

The increased and expanded fees for visitor-paid parking would allow this current $15 resident parking pass to be free. The town estimates visitor-paid parking could bring in up to $1.7 million each year, depending on whether the town charges for it year-round or seasonally.

Payment would be enforced by cameras at each lot, which have been installed at each location except for Alder Lane. The cameras will be fully functional within a couple of weeks, according to the town’s report at the committee meeting.

Just because the cameras are functional doesn’t mean the town is ready to implement the program.

The committee must still approve the resolution to put in front of the town council, who must then vote to approve the program, including fee structures, enforcement and the timeline. In the April committee meeting, a vote to approve the resolution failed. If it the resolution moves on in the May meeting, the town council must weigh the problems that paid parking might solve with the problems it might create.

One potential problem: visitors spending money on parking instead of on local business.

“Every dollar for parking is a dollar not spent in our local economy,” Lee Lucier said at the meeting. He is a local business owner and the COO of the Richardson Group real estate development and management company.

Another concern is that free parking at Coligny Beach will incentivize visitors to park there instead of at the paid lots, further exacerbating parking problems for surrounding businesses.

“We’re concerned by employee parking being taken by tourists, day trippers, or residents who are parking in our neighborhoods and our businesses,” Lucier said. “Then our employees are put out in the street.”

At Piggy Wiggly, Martin said that when shifts change at 2 p.m., cashiers are circling with the beach goers looking for a spot.

“I’m out in the parking lot as we speak,” Martin said. “Not one spot,” he said of the 92 parking spaces, despite only 21 people being inside the store.

Here is what the town proposed at its April meeting:

Currently, there is paid parking at the following beaches ranging anywhere from 50 cents an hour to $1 an hour:

Hilton Head staff are proposing paid parking at $5 per hour with a cap of $30 a day at:

The staff is proposing free parking at:

“A couple of them will remain without gates, a couple of them will have gates,” Gruber said of the beach parking, though he didn’t say which. The lots with gates will be restricted to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The gates would allow visitors to leave, but not park, after 10 p.m.

“It’s not so much to keep people out early in the morning, but it’s to keep people out late at night,” he said.

The town presented both a year-round option and a seasonal option, which would charge during June, July and August.

It estimated the year-round option would bring in about $1.7 million each year and the seasonal option would bring in about $1.4 million each year.

“We can pick and choose locations, times and rates,” Gruber said.

He said: “This is a hypothetical example of one (option) we could implement that would hopefully have less of an impact than it would be to charge all year long,” of the seasonal option.

Town staff proposed that the current $15 fee for Island Resident Beach Parking Passes be made free and that revenue replaced by revenue generated exclusively from beach parking fees.

Currently, Hilton Head Island residents get two passes per year that would allow them to park in any of the metered spaces year round.

“The program is targeted at visitors and guests who are not otherwise contributing from a property tax standpoint towards paying for these cost of operations,” Gruber said at the meetings.

The days of parking at Driessen Beach with crossed fingers that the parking machine isn’t working are over. Cheating the town out of a few bucks an hour could get much harder.

As cars enter a lot, cameras capture their license plate and immediately recognize whether the car is a resident’s or not. If the car isn’t a resident’s, the system will know the driver needs to pay.

Once parked, the driver can pay by via text message or a QR code. The town plans to place signs with a phone number in each lot. If the driver doesn’t pay, then the town will be notified that someone needs to be ticketed in that lot.

This tracking would also allow the town to monitor the number of people in each lot and eventually notify potential visitors through an app or notifications when lots are full, with the goal to reduce traffic and air pollution.

With the report still in the Community Services and Public Safety Committee, the electronic parking fees and changes couldn’t be voted on and implemented by town council until at least after the 2024 summer season, potentially jeopardizing current beach patrol services.

Gruber warned that if they don’t pass the fees soon, they’ll have to reevaluate the budget, which factors in the revenue from paid parking.

“If we’re not going to charge for parking to pay for it, it certainly can’t be sustained at the level that is is now,” Gruber said.

The town has $869,730 in projected expenses for the 2024 fiscal year for parking management, and $623,788 for the 2025 fiscal year. The town contracts a Michigan-based parking services firm called PCI Municipal Services to provide the services and technology for the parking management program.

“If this vote stands, it creates an issue with being able to provide services at Islander Beach Park,” said Council member Tamara Becker, shaking her head when Council members Alex Brown and Patsy Brison voted against the moving the resolution to the town council. Council member Steve Alfred voted to move it forward.

For Brown and Brison, they said they need more data and specifics.

“I need to understand on a five, ten, year term where we’re going to be implementing this project,” Brown said, questioning what the town will do with the at least $1.4 million it estimates to bring in with the program, after paying expenses. “We owe the community an answer to that if we’re going to start to charge for parking on Hilton Head.”

This story was originally published April 22, 2024, 12:42 PM.

Vacant Sam’s Club building, Hilton Head’s mid-island eyesore, bought by local businessman

The former Sam’s Club building on Hilton Head Island, which has been vacant since January 2017 when the big box retailer moved to Bluffton, has a new owner.Hilton Head businessman J.R. Richardson, owner of the Richardson Group, purchased the property for $5.8 million, according to paperwork filed in Beaufort County. The deal closed Feb. 28.Lee Lucier, chief operating officer for the Richardson Group, said on Thur...

The former Sam’s Club building on Hilton Head Island, which has been vacant since January 2017 when the big box retailer moved to Bluffton, has a new owner.

Hilton Head businessman J.R. Richardson, owner of the Richardson Group, purchased the property for $5.8 million, according to paperwork filed in Beaufort County. The deal closed Feb. 28.

Lee Lucier, chief operating officer for the Richardson Group, said on Thursday afternoon that Richardson aims to give the mid-island eyesore a new life, but it was too soon to speak of specifics.

“We were able to secure the property with the hopes of it being developed as a local asset to the community,” Lucier said. “We think we have a great plan going forward. We’re just working through the planning stages.”

The more than 70,000-square-foot building sits on 5.26 acres in Port Royal Plaza.

A small portion of the space will be a locally owned indoor pickleball club, Lucier said.

Richardson made the deal as part of a separate business, Barony Fund 1 Investment LLC. However, Richardson Group will manage the property at 95 Mathews Drive in Port Royal Plaza.

It currently is zoned for commercial development. Lucier said he didn’t anticipate the need to request rezoning.

“The property is in an Opportunity Zone, and we are glad to be able to use it as space for the island in a manner that will serve the community,” Richardson said in a statement.

Opportunity Zones are federally designated areas set up to encourage economic development and job creation by reducing taxes for investors. There are 135 Opportunity Zones in South Carolina but only one on Hilton Head.

In the seven years the former Sam’s Club building has been vacant, several businesses have announced plans that failed to materialize:

Richardson moved to Hilton Head with his father, mother and siblings in 1955. His father, James Norris Richardson, opened a supermarket and other stores in the area that would become the current Coligny Plaza on Hilton Head’s south end.

In addition to Coligny Plaza, the younger Richardson was also behind the development of Windmill Harbour and the South Carolina Yacht Club. Today, Richardson Group also includes Local Pie, Fish and Forrest Fire restaurants plus several workforce housing projects on Hilton Head Island.

Port Royal Plaza is also home to Planet Fitness and an assortment of shops and restaurants including Rollers Wine and Spirits, Fiesta Fresh, Okko, Street Meet, Paris Baguette and Jinya ramen bar, among others.

This story was originally published March 29, 2024, 11:39 AM.

How well do you know Hilton Head? Demographic study reveals population is changing

The world brands Hilton Head as a vacation destination. Luxury and lifestyle travel magazines name it the best island in the U.S. Economists called it the “new Hamptons;” ...

The world brands Hilton Head as a vacation destination. Luxury and lifestyle travel magazines name it the best island in the U.S. Economists called it the “new Hamptons;” country singer Zach Bryan quipped about the two as retirement communities in a recent song.

There is some validity to those judgments, but there’s also a lot more to Hilton Head demographics than what’s on the surface, based on a recent town assessment.

A 2023 assessment shows the population is getting older and varies greatly based on the season. It also shows changing demographics that are rarely mentioned and might not be known among residents: Hilton Head’s population is plateauing, the Hispanic community is growing the fastest and there has been a long-term decrease in African American residents.

The town conducted a “Conditions and Trends” assessment last month, analyzing the town’s demographics to inform policy development and growth planning. The assessment was compiled by consultants and based on multiple sources including the U.S. Census, American Community Survey and Gullah Geechee Cultural Preservation Project report.

“This is the first time that we are assembling this level of data,” Director of Planning Missy Luick said.

Here are the top seven demographic findings from the report:

Hilton Head’s population is plateauing at 37,660 full-time residents after immense growth in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, especially compared to Bluffton and Hardeeville.

The island population only grew 11% between 2000 and 2020 compared to Beaufort County as a whole growing 55%, Bluffton growing 2,074% and Hardeeville growing 317%. In Georgia, the Savannah metropolitan area grew 45% between 2000 and 2020.

More people in Hilton Head are living alone or live in a household where everyone is over 65 years old, shifting the population to be less likely to include school-aged children.

Households over 65 were up 50% and persons living alone were up 57% between 2000 and 2020. It makes for smaller average household sizes, which decreased 4.3% to 2.2%, compared to 1% for Beaufort County between 2000 and 2020.

On any given day, there are more than 8,500 visitors on Hilton Head, not including second-home owners or workers. In full, more than 3.1 million people visit throughout the year.

Workers are the highest percentage of the island’s daytime population, then non-working full-time residents, then visitors.

On average there are about 53,500 people on the Island each day. The most recent breakdown is from 2021 when Hilton Head’s 48,911 daytime population was:

The island population is getting older and the school-age population is decreasing.

Islander’s median age moved from 26 to 58 in between 2000 and 2020. During that period, 9,000 new residents over 55 moved to Hilton Head. Every other age segment decreased in size.

The 65 and over segment increased 80%, accounting for 6,500 new residents during that time. It’s consistent with Beaufort County, which grew by 175% in the older segment.

Notably, residents under 18 are decreasing, accounting for Beaufort County schools losing 400 students from 2012 to 2022. The most students were lost below second grade.

Hilton Head is rich with Gullah Geechee history, but the percentage of African Americans on the island has decreased by 400 residents from 2000 to 2020. It moves the total percentage down from 8% to 6%.

This doesn’t mean that the segment of white islanders is getting larger. Islanders who identify as white decreased from 85% of the population in 2000 to 79% in 2020.

Increases come partially from residents who identify as “other” or as “two or more races,” which increased from 6% to 13% during the same time.

Hilton Head’s Hispanic community is growing faster than any other population on the island, mirroring regional and national trends. Islanders who identify as Hispanic or Latino rose by 28.2% between 2000 and 2020 from 3,934 to 5,045.

The Beaufort County School District has the third-largest Hispanic student population in South Carolina, and Hispanic students make up almost half of the public school population. The district has the third largest Hispanic student population in South Carolina, with about 7,000 students concentrated mostly on Hilton Head and in Bluffton. Only Greenville and Horry counties’ school systems educate more of these students.

About one in every three students is multilingual and developing fluency in English at Hilton Head Island Middle and High Schools. Less than 33% of those students were language proficient in 2020, falling at least 11 percentage points behind their South Carolinian peers.

A little under 12% of Hilton Head residents were born outside the the United States, with 66% of this group migrating from Latin America. Europeans represent 18% of the total foreign-born population.

Do you represent any of these trends? Reach out to reporter Mary Dimitrov at This article is one in a series of explorations of the demographic changes happening in the Beaufort County area. Other installments are coming soon.

This story was originally published February 20, 2024, 9:02 AM.


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