Shopping for Medicare can be stressful. There’s so much information about the various plans that it can be hard to know what you need to enroll in and whether or not you need to register in supplementary plans to cover your healthcare needs. But, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with a full rundown of options for your Arkansas Medicare Plan. This includes, the differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, Medigap policies, enrolment dates, eligibility and much more.
Arkansas Medicare Insurance Trends
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), 649,910 Arkansas residents are Medicare beneficiaries as of 2021.
Additionally, the CMS reported the following trends in Arkansas in 2022.
- The average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage premium dropped from $13.77 in 2021 to $11.55 in 2022.
- The lowest premium for a Medicare Advantage Plan is $0.
- 82 Medicare Advantage plans were offered in 2022.
- 100% of people with Medicare have access to Medicare Advantage plans with a $0 monthly premium.
Medicare Offered in Arkansas
The first type of Medicare offered in Arkansas is Original Medicare. This consists of Medicare Part A & B. Part A is your hospital insurance, covering in-person stays, hospice, as well as limited in-home caregiving and short-term nursing home care. Part B is medical insurance, covering all of your physical exams, health screenings, and other doctor’s services. Note that Medicare does not cover long-term health care, dentures, cosmetic surgery, hearing aids, eyewear, or eye examinations for glasses.
Medicare Advantage is a private health insurance plan sold with Medicare approval. It replaces Medicare Part A & B and offers additional coverage, such as vision, dental, hearing, and more. This is Medicare Part C. However, you also will be restricted to in-network healthcare (whatever is part of your provider network). If you go outside of the network, you’ll be responsible for the health care costs. Some plans may also include prescription drug coverage, which is part of Medicare Part D. If your monthly prescriptions are a major concern, you want a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes Medicare Part D.
Medicare Advantage carriers include:
- Health Advantage
Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare supplemental plans fall under the umbrella of Medigap. The plans are sold by private insurers but are standardized under federal law. They are identified by letters running from A to N. Depending on which policy you sign up for; these Medigap plans cover the costs left over after Original Medicare. You cannot sign up for Medigap if you are a member of a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Some Medigap carriers include:
- Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield
Arkansas Medicare Enrollment
Medicare enrollment is only automatic if you’ve been receiving social security. You have to notify Social Security three months before you turn 65 to sign up. From this point, you’ll have a seven-month eligibility period in which to sign up.
To sign up for Medicare, you have to be either 65 years old or older or suffer from specific disabilities, including end-stage renal disease.
Enrollment Period Dates
Initial Enrollment Period
This seven-month window allows you to sign up for a plan.
- Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
- Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
Medicare Open Enrollment Period
This is when you can sign up for a plan, switch a plan or leave a plan
- Begins Starts October 15th
- Ends December 7th
Special Enrollment Period
Special enrollment periods allow you to enroll outside the regular enrollment periods under specific circumstances.
General Enrollment Period
This is when you can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B if you didn’t sign up when first eligible or if you’re not qualified for a Special Enrollment Period.
- Starts January 1st
- Ends March 31st
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
This is when you can switch or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Starts January 1st
- Ends March 31st
Arkansas Enrollment Tips & Advice
If you find yourself having trouble deciding on which Medicare plan to sign up for, there are many good online resources to help you out. One is the official U.S. Government Medicare website, where you can compare various Medicare Part C and D Plans and Medigap. You can also consult the Arkansas Insurance Department or talk to someone by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
How Do I Enroll in a Medicare Plan?
If you have any questions about Arkansas Medicare and your eligibility for financial assistance, speak to one of our licensed agents today. Our agents will discuss your Medicare options and help you find a plan that works for you!