Medicare plays a key role in providing health and financial security to beneficiaries residing in Arkansas. With more than 642,000 Arkansas beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare, we’ll cover some very important information below about Medicare in Arkansas. We want to help you better understand your options and make the decision-process as seamless as possible once you’re ready to enroll in Medicare or discover different coverage options.

Who Qualifies for Medicare in Arkansas?

Medicare covers most Arkansas residents who are 65 or older. In general, Medicare enrollment in Arkansas works the same way as it does in the rest of the country. If you qualify for Original Medicare, also known as Part A and Part B, it will help cover 80% of your health care costs.

When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. If you’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7-month period that:

  • Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty. You’ll be responsible for paying this penalty for as long as you have Part B, and you could have a gap in your health coverage.

Once you reach Medicare eligibility, you can begin choosing additional coverage options to help pay for the remaining 20% of your medical expenses through Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medigap, and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan.

Who Qualifies for Medicare

Arkansas Medicare Enrollments

451,713

Original Medicare Plans
(Part A and B)

190,821

Medicare Advantage & Other Health Plans

467,331

Stand-alone Medicare
Part D (Drug plans)

642,534

Total Medicare Beneficiaries
in Arkansas

Arkansas Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)

Only 27% of Arkansas Medicare beneficiaries select Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage plans are private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. They provide all of your Original Medicare benefits and often include extra benefits such as drug, dental, and vision coverage.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31. During this period, Medicare beneficiaries in Arkansas who already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or drop their Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans are available in all 75 counties in Arkansas. Just remember, plan availability varies across the state. For example, there are only nine plans available in Columbia, Drew and Lafayette counties, and 31 plans available in Carroll and Pulaski counties.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as of 2020, there are 190,821 beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage and other plans in Arkansas. As of 2020, a $0 premium was the lowest monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan in Arkansas.

Arkansas Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance Plans

Arkansas requires Medigap insurers to offer at least one plan to people under age 65; however, they can be charged much higher premiums.

Medigap plans are used to supplement Original Medicare, covering some or all of the out-of-pocket costs (for coinsurance and deductibles) that beneficiaries would otherwise incur if they only had Original Medicare on its own. Typically, Medigap plans are popular for those who want little to no copay when they access healthcare services.

Arkansas is one of eight states where Medigap premiums can’t vary based on a beneficiary’s age (referred to as “no age rating” in Arkansas) as long as they’re at least 65 years old. In Arkansas, Medigap insurance companies must offer at least Plan A to all beneficiaries age 65 and above. Otherwise, each company has the authority to choose which of the other standardized Medigap plans to sell. Although some companies may offer only a few of the plans, such as Medigap Plan A and C, others may choose to offer all of the Medigap plans.

It is recommended that you enroll in an Arkansas Medigap plan during your open enrollment period when you’re turning 65 years old, which is a six-month window that begins on the first day that your Part B coverage is effective. During this window of time, you can enroll in any Arkansas Medigap plan without any restrictions on pre-existing health conditions. After this period is over, you must answer health questions when applying for a Medicare supplement. It’s also important to note that Medigap plans don’t cover prescription drugs since those are covered under Part D. You’ll need a stand-alone Part D plan to go alongside your Medigap plan.

Arkansas Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)

Original Medicare doesn’t cover outpatient prescription drugs. However, Medicare beneficiaries can get prescription coverage via a Medicare Advantage plan, an employer-sponsored plan (offered by a current or former employer), or a stand-alone Part D plan. Medigap plans don’t cover prescription drugs unless they’re covered under Part B.

As of 2020, there are 291,384 Medicare beneficiaries in Arkansas enrolled in Part D plans and 176,513 enrolled in Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans. For 2020 coverage, there are 26 stand-alone Part D plans available in Arkansas, with premiums ranging from about $17 to $129 per month.

When deciding on a Part D plan, it’s important to evaluate several factors such as each plan’s premium, formulary, and copays since every plan is different. Learn how you can save money on your out-of-pocket costs with a Medicare Advantage, Part D, or Medigap plan, fill out this form or give us a call.

Local Medicare Health Plan Resources in Arkansas

  • Arkansas Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP): The Arkansas Insurance Department heads up the SHIIP along with assistance from the Area Agencies on Aging offices around the state. The program is designed to help Medicare-eligible seniors with questions about their Medicare benefits, summary notices, and claim denials and appeals.
    Contact: Schedule a personalized counseling session with the Arkansas SHIIP Office by calling 501-371-2782 or toll-free at 800-224-6330. You can also send an email to [email protected] to request more information about the program, or find and contact your local office by referring to the SHIIP Partner map.

  • Choices in Living Resource Center: The Arkansas Department of Human Services operates the Choices in Living Resource Center, which also acts as an Aging and Disability Resource Center to provide information about long-term services and support to Arkansas seniors.
    Contact: Call 866-801-3435 or email [email protected] for more information about their various programs. You can also contact your local Area Agency on Aging to learn more about scheduling Medicare counseling.

  • Arkansas Medicare Savings Program: A State of Arkansas Program known as the Medicare Buy-in. Applications are processed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services at www.access.arkansas.gov.

  • Arkansas Division of Aging and Adult Services: Learn about state services for older adults.
    Contact: Call 501-682-2441

  • Arkansas Senior Medicare Patrol: Find out about common Medicare scams and learn steps you can take to prevent fraud.
    Contact: Call 501-320-6457 or toll-free at 866-726-2916.

  • Arkansas Medicaid: If you’re on Medicare with limited income, you may qualify for help with Medicare costs. Learn if you may be eligible and how to apply.
    Contact: Call 1-800-482-5431 (in-state toll-free) or 682-8501 (local and out-of-state), Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM ET.

The licensed agents that are partnered with Timefor65 can help you compare the availability, benefits, and costs of Medicare plans in your specific region of Arkansas. Our process makes it easier for you to access your Medicare eligibility in Arkansas so that you receive personalized, affordable, and easy-to-use coverage options and solutions. Fill out the form or give us a call at (866) 382-1192 anytime to get a free quote or to ask any questions.

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