Medicare in Arkansas

Pamela Cannaday by Pamela Cannaday | Licensed since 2011
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This article was updated on: 09/16/2018

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In Arkansas, as in other states, Medicare beneficiaries may have several choices when it comes to their Medicare coverage. For example, you can hold onto Original Medicare, Part A and Part B and add certain other coverage to Original Medicare (such as a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan). Or, alternatively, you can get all your coverage through a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.

Types of Medicare coverage available in Arkansas

Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, refers to the federal Medicare coverage you might get automatically when you turn 65 or before turning 65 if you receive disability benefits. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) are available in any state. You can add prescription drug coverage or supplemental insurance onto Part A and Part B, as described below.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) offer stand-alone prescription drug coverage and are offered through private Medicare-approved insurance companies. These plans work alongside your Original Medicare coverage. Costs and coverage details may vary. You can also get Medicare Part D coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Supplement insurance policies are sold by private insurance companies and can be used to fill in coverage “gaps” associated with Original Medicare. There are up to 10 types of Medicare Supplement policies, also called Medigap, to choose from in most states. Each policy is named with a letter (Plan A through Plan N). Plans E, H, I, and J are no longer sold.  Coverage under each lettered plan category is the same, no matter where the plan is purchased. For example, if you buy Medigap Plan B in Alaska, it will have the same benefits as Plan B in Oklahoma. However, costs will vary by insurance company.

Like Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, Medigap plans work alongside your Original Medicare coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans, or Medicare Part C, provide your Part A and Part B benefits through private Medicare-approved insurance companies. Many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage; these plans are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans, giving you all your Medicare coverage in a single policy. Some plans offer additional benefits, like routine dental services, that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. There are many types of Medicare Advantage plans, but no matter which one you choose, you still need to continue paying your Medicare Part B premium.

Local resources for Medicare in Arkansas

  • Arkansas Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP): The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) provides one-on-one counseling to Arkansas residents regarding Medicare health coverage, Medicare Supplement plans, and Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Medicare Savings Programs in Arkansas: Some beneficiaries may find it difficult to pay for all the out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare. As such, these programs may offer financial assistance to Medicare beneficiaries with limited income.

How to get Medicare in Arkansas

In Arkansas, as in all states, you’re first eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 years old or when you’ve collected disability benefits for 24 consecutive months. To qualify for Medicare, you must be either a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years. You may not have to do anything to enroll in Original Medicare if you’re receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or if you have Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS).

If you’re automatically enrolled, you’ll get a “Welcome to Medicare” packet in the mail about three months before you turn 65 (or become eligible for Medicare due to disability).

If you do need to apply for Medicare, you may do so via the Social Security Administration, either online, in person, or over the phone.

  • Visit the Social Security website.
  • Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, 7AM to 7PM.
  • Apply in person at a Social Security office near you.
  • If you worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users call 312-751-4701), Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM.

As you can see, there may be several different Medicare coverage choices for you in Arkansas.  Would you like my help in sorting through the different options? You can click the “View profile” link under my photo to learn a little about me and why I like helping people understand their Medicare options. You can set up a phone call with me, or I can email you more information—just follow one of the links below. If you’re like to browse through some options on your own time, you can click the Compare Plans button on the right.

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