Medicare in Arkansas

In this article...
  • Ready to enroll in Medicare? Find out more about Medicare for Arkansas residents in this guide, including plan options and eligibility timelines.

What Arkansas Medicare Plans Are Available?

Medicare is the program that provides insurance coverage to those 65 and older as well as some individuals with disabilities. The program consists of several parts, each of which provides a different purpose for beneficiaries. 

Part A

Medicare Part A provides a more traditional component of coverage, geared toward benefits that service those requiring hospital care and other inpatient services (skilled nursing, hospice, surgical center and some home health care). 

Premiums for this part of Medicare are based on inclusion in the federal payroll tax system. 

Part B

Medicare Part B covers preventative care, including annual physician visits, screenings and diagnostic testing. Premiums for Part B are based on income, and beneficiaries are responsible for copays and deductibles. 

Medicare Advantage

The Medicare Advantage Plan is a supplemental policy that can replace some of the components of Parts A and B, both of which an individual must have before signing up for an Advantage program. Some Medicare Advantage plans also cover some prescription medications, as well as dental and vision services.  

This program is different from the original parts of Medicare in that it is administered through private insurers. Plan options include a Special Needs Plan, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and Private Fee-for-Service. 

Part D/Prescription Drug Plan

This component of the Medicare program is the prescription drug benefit that provides coverage for necessary medications for beneficiaries. It is a complementary plan to Parts A and B. 

Those with Advantage plans can opt to forgo Part D entirely if needed. It is an option plan when signing up for Parts A and B; however, those who do not opt to enroll when it is designated can do so at a later date. There may be a penalty for doing so. 

Medigap

Medigap is a supplement program that helps with out-of-pocket expenses for those individuals who are covered under some of the other program parts. Arkansas residents have their choice of several Medigap program options. 

Within the Arkansas population, there are more than half a million residents enrolled in a Medicare program. Of this, 30% of individuals are enrolled in an Advantage program. There are 42 Medigap insurance providers in Arkansas and 31 standalone Part D programs. 

Who Is Eligible for Arkansas Medicare?

Eligibility is automatic for those turning 65 who are already receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration. Those who are part of this group will receive information about the different program parts three months prior to their 65th birthday. Those who are not automatically enrolled have several other options: 

  • Initial Enrollment: Those interested in signing up can do so three months before turning 65, during their birthday month and three months thereafter. 
  • Annual Enrollment: Medicare also has specific enrollment periods. The first spans January 1 through March 31, with benefits kicking in on July 1. The second enrollment period spans October 15 and December 7, with benefits kicking in on January 1. Beneficiaries must enroll during this time to avoid incurring a penalty. The fall enrollment period is the point at which beneficiaries can choose a new Part D or Advantage program. 
  • Special enrollment: Those who have recently moved back into the country or lost employer-sponsored coverage can sign up for a Medicare program at any time without incurring a fee. 

How Do I Enroll in Medicare in Arkansas?

There are several ways to enroll in one of the Medicare programs in Arkansas: 

  • Head to the Social Security Administration website and apply online. 
  • Call the Social Security Administration office at (800) 772-1213. 
  • Visit the local Social Security Administration office (appointments are recommended) and sign up in person. 

Contact Information for Arkansas Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance Help

Take advantage of any number of programs in Arkansas to help learn more about signing up for a Medicare program in Arkansas. 

  • HelpAdvisor:The HelpAdvisor website provides information on signing up for one of the Medicare programs and information on resources for seniors around the state. 
  • Arkansas State Health Insurance Program (SHIP):The Arkansas SHIP program offers information on senior resources for those who need help in Arkansas in signing up for a Medicare program. 

Arkansas Rx Assistance Programs: Arkansas has numerous drug assistance programs for those who need help paying for their medications.