Medicare in Arizona

In this article...
  • Did you know some people are enrolled in Medicare automatically? Find out more about whether you need to enroll and when you should do it.

What Arizona Medicare Plans Are Available? 

For those who live in Arizona, Medicare Part A, Part B, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D are all available. You may also enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan offered privately to assist you with the payment of expenses not covered by your Medicare plan. It is important that you review each plan so that you understand what your own financial responsibility will be and can plan ahead. The benefits of each plan follow below:

  • Medicare Part A: This is considered the first portion of Original Medicare. It covers inpatient care services. Examples include emergency room visits, extended hospital stays, being admitted to a nursing care facility, home health care services and hospice care.  
  • Medicare Part B: This is the second part of Original Medicare and covers your preventative care costs. Your doctor’s visits, diagnostic testing, medical supplies and devices, medical transportation and other preventative care costs will be covered under Part B. 
  • Medicare Advantage: A law passed in 2006 permits residents to select a private insurance plan in place of traditional Medicare benefits. These Advantage plans are required to cover everything offered in Medicare Part A and B and might actually offer additional coverage for services like dental, vision and prescription drug coverage. 
  • Medicare Part D: You may enroll in Part D regardless of whether you have a Medicare Advantage plan or not. This plan covers prescription medications, and there are tiers of coverage you can select based on your needs. Not all Advantage plans offer drug coverage, so you can enroll in Part D if your Advantage plan does not provide the drug coverage you need. 
  • Medicare Supplement Plans: If you worry about whether you will be able to afford your deductible and copayments for each year, you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan. These plans are provided by independent insurance companies and will help cover the 20% copayment you must pay for expensive medical procedures.  

In 2020, roughly 786,000 Arizonans enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B compared with 570,000 who selected a Medicare Advantage plan. There are benefits to either route, and you should decide what types of coverage are most important to you before choosing your own plan. Knowing that you will need to pay a deductible and copayment for your care, it is worth considering whether you can reduce your cost of medical services even more by enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan. 

Who Is Eligible for Arizona Medicare? 

In short, if you are 65 years old and live in Arizona, you are eligible for Medicare and may even be enrolled automatically. If you want more power over the coverage you will receive or want to switch plans, you may want to check on your status or make those changes during your initial enrollment period. Some people are not enrolled automatically, such as if they did not contribute enough to Social Security or have not started to collect their retirement benefits yet. 

Medicare Part A is a part of your Social Security benefit and you won’t need to pay anything for it as long as you qualify for auto-enrollment. Part B may cost you up to $150 a month, and the rate is variable year to year. You won’t have to pay any monthly bills for it, however, because it is deducted from your retirement benefits each month. 

Medicare Advantage plans are provided by insurance companies that have no association with Medicare, so the cost and terms of these plans will vary based on who you enroll with and the type of coverage you purchase. A portion of your premium is offset by the value you would receive in coverage for Medicare Part A, however, so you can save money on one of these plans. Medicare Part D allows you to choose a tier to enroll in that will cover the type of medications you anticipate needing. What you will pay depends on how much coverage you choose. 

Your initial enrollment period begins 90 days before your 65th birthday and lasts until 90 days after. If you miss this enrollment, you will need to wait until general enrollment, which begins on January 1 and ends on March 31. You will be required to pay penalties, and your Part B coverage could cost you more for the rest of your life. There is another way to avoid these penalties if you qualify for an exemption. 

If you are disabled or caring for someone with a disability, remained on your employer’s health plan beyond the age of 65 or could not enroll during your initial enrollment period because you were volunteering or serving the nation abroad, you will qualify for special enrollment periods that let you sign up without any penalties. If you have any desire to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, it is important to do so within six months of your 65th birthday because insurers are not allowed to turn you down for any reason and cannot raise your rates due to your age or health. These protections expire if you wait too long. 

How Do I Enroll for Medicare in Arizona? 

Enrolling in Medicare is easy. All you need to do is visit Medicare.gov and follow the instructions presented on the website. You can also change your plan through the website and complete your enrollment online. Medicare Supplement plans are offered by regular insurance companies, so you will need to shop for one outside of Medicare. 

Contact Information for Arizona Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance Help 

If you would like to learn more about Medicare and Medicaid in the state of Arizona or need further assistance finding an insurance company or prescription drug benefits, you can check out the following resources:

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System 

Arizona Department of Health Insurance 

Arizona State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) 

Arizona Medicaid Eligibility and Enrollment 

Arizona Department of Economic Security