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Medicare Plans in Arkansas in 2022

As you near your Medicare enrollment age, it is important for you to know your coverage options. This blog post will explore what Medicare plans are available in Arkansas in 2022 and what they entail.

Being aware of your state-specific Medicare rights can help you to find the best plan options possible. That’s why it’s so important to have a good understanding of the nuances of Medicare in your state. Read on to learn more about your Medigap, Medicare Advantage, and Part D options in Arkansas.

How To Apply for Medicare in Arkansas

If you are an Arkansas resident who is only interested in enrolling in Original Medicare, you can do so through your local Social Security office. You can sign up in-person, online, or over the phone as early as three months before your 65th birthday.

However, if you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Part D drug coverage, we recommend contacting a licensed insurance agent. They can walk you through the process and help you to find the right plan for you. 

If you are new to Medicare, reach out to an experienced insurance agent here at Medicare Plans Direct today to receive free guidance.

Medicare Supplement Plans in Arkansas

Which Medigap plans are available to you in Arkansas will depend on a number of factors, such as which insurance company you enroll with and where you reside.

There were 214,079 Arkansas residents enrolled in Medicare Supplement Insurance plans in 2019. This figure represented just over a third (33.7%) of all Medicare enrollees in the state that year.

The most popular Medigap plans in Arkansas include Plans F, G, and N. These plans offer some of the most comprehensive coverage around.

However, beneficiaries who first became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 will no longer be allowed to enroll in Plan F. Plans G and N are good alternatives.

Medigap Enrollment in Arkansas

If you are interested in enrolling in Medigap insurance in Arkansas, the best time to do so is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP)

This occurs when you first become eligible for Medicare and enroll in Medicare Part B, and it lasts for 6 months. During this time, you can enroll in any Medigap plan offered in your area regardless of your health history

Unless you qualify for a guaranteed issue right, you may have to undergo medical underwriting if you want to sign up for a Medigap plan after your OEP finalizes. In this case, insurance companies reserve the right to deny you coverage and/or charge you higher rates. 

Some examples of guaranteed issue rights in Arkansas include moving out of your Medicare Advantage plan’s coverage area, a change in retiree benefits, and losing your employer coverage. 

When you first enroll in a Medigap plan in Arkansas, you have a 30 day “free-look” period that allows you to return your policy and get a full refund. This period begins the day that you receive your certificate or policy, not the first day that it comes into effect. 

You should also be aware that Medigap insurers in Arkansas can implement pre-existing condition waiting periods. These waiting periods apply to conditions for which you receive medical advice or treatment (or were recommended treatment) during the six months immediately before your Medigap policy is issued.  

This means that your insurance company can delay coverage for the condition in question for up to six months when you first enroll in your Medigap plan.

Medigap in Arkansas for Disability Enrollees

Arkansas beneficiaries under the age of 65 who qualify for Medicare because of a disability are guaranteed to be allowed to enroll in at least one type of Medigap plan. This is not mandated under federal Medigap regulations, but the state enacted a law in 2018 to guarantee this protection. 

Most insurance companies have chosen to offer these individuals Plan A, as it provides the least benefits of any Medigap plan. However, there are some companies that offer more/alternative options. Keep in mind that people under the age of 65 usually face significantly higher premiums should they choose to enroll in a Medigap plan. 

People who enroll in Medicare before they turn 65 will have an OEP during the six months following their 65th birthday. When this happens, they are allowed to sign up for any Medigap plan offered in their area without having to undergo medical underwriting.

Medigap Premiums in Arkansas

Arkansas Medicare Supplement Insurance companies must use a “no age rating” system. This means that they cannot base premiums on a beneficiary’s age, which is essentially the same as a community rating system. However, rates can vary based on a beneficiary’s smoking status, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, substance abuse, and more. 

Medigap premiums in Arkansas are separated into two categories: preferred premiums and standard premiums. Preferred premiums are offered to individuals (65 years of age and older) who enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance during their Medigap OEP. 

The standard rates apply to individuals who sign up outside of their OEP and/or have unfavorable medical histories. Preferred premiums are typically lower than Standard premiums. 

As you can see, a number of factors go into how insurance companies choose at what rate to set your monthly premium. For that reason, we always recommend consulting with an experienced insurance agent before deciding on a Medicare Supplement to ensure that you are getting the best value plan for you. 

Medicare Advantage Plans in Arkansas

Another coverage option for people looking for more benefits than those offered by Original Medicare is Medicare Advantage. Also known as Part C, these plans provide the coverage that you get under Original Medicare on top of additional benefits, which can include drug coverage, hearing coverage, vision coverage, dental coverage, and more. 

Less than a third (32.8%) of Arkansas Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2021. In 2022, there are 82 Medicare Advantage plans available in Arkansas

100% of Medicare beneficiaries have access to at least one Medicare Advantage plan in 2022. However, which Medicare Advantage plans you have available to you depends on where exactly you reside, as plan availability varies from county to county.

For example, Medicare enrollees who live in Pulaski County can choose between 57 plans in 2022, while residents of smaller counties have significantly fewer options (there are only 16 plans offered in Howard County). 

When it comes to monthly premiums, what you pay for your Medicare Advantage plan depends on where you live, the plan that you choose, and more. In 2022, the average Part C monthly premium for Arkansas Medicare beneficiaries is $11.55. Plus, all Arkansas Medicare enrollees have access to at least one plan with a $0 monthly premium. 

Deciding which is the right Medicare Advantage plan for you is best done with the help of an experienced insurance agent. Here at Medicare Plans Direct we help you make the best Medicare choices possible at no extra cost to you. Reach out today to receive free Medicare advice.

Medicare Part D in Arkansas

Another thing for Arkansas Medicare beneficiaries to keep in mind is their Part D prescription drug coverage options. In 2022, there are 23 stand-alone prescription drug plans available to Arkansas Medicare enrollees. 

How much you will have to pay for your Part D premium depends on where you live and which insurance company you purchase your plan through. In 2022, the average Part D premium in Arkansas is $46.37

You can also find Medicare prescription drug plans with $0 deductibles, though insurance companies usually charge higher monthly premiums for these plans. In 2022, there are four Medicare Part D plans with no deductible available to Arkansas residents, and the lowest-cost stand-alone Medicare drug plan with a $0 deductible has a monthly premium of $57.90. 

It is typically a good idea to enroll in prescription drug coverage when you are first eligible if you foresee it being necessary in the future. If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part D when you first qualify and don’t have some other form of creditable drug coverage, you could face late enrollment penalty fees down the line.

Some Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, but if you are enrolled in Original Medicare and/or a Medigap policy, you will need a stand-alone prescription drug plan to help cover the costs of your medications. 

As you can see, it is important to make well-informed decisions when choosing your Medicare coverage. Here at Medicare Plans Direct, we help seniors navigate their Medicare enrollment journeys. Reach out today to speak with a licensed insurance agent and find the right Medicare plan for you.

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