Summary: If you have Original Medicare in Arkansas, you may have multiple Medicare plan options. Some plan types are only available through private insurance companies contracted with Medicare. This includes Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans.

Original Medicare in Arkansas

Original Medicare is the government program that provides health coverage for adults age 65 and older and some individuals with disabilities. Generally, Original Medicare works the same in the entire country.

If you are on Original Medicare in Arkansas, you can see any provider that accepts Medicare, both in state and out of state.

Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).

Part A covers inpatient services. This includes hospital and skilled nursing stays, limited home health care, and hospice care. Part A also covers medications that are part of your inpatient treatment in a Medicare-approved facility.

Part B covers outpatient services. These include physical exams, preventive screenings, lab tests, mental health services, and durable medical equipment.

Original Medicare doesn’t cover:

  • Eye care, such as eye exams for glasses or contacts
  • Dental care, such as cleanings, x-rays, and fillings
  • Acupuncture
  • Dentures
  • Hearing aids
  • Prescription medications (except in limited inpatient or outpatient settings)

A Medicare Advantage plan may cover some of the above items and services. If you have Original Medicare in Arkansas, you’ll pay for these expenses out of pocket.

How to enroll in Medicare in Arkansas

In Arkansas, as in the rest of the United States, you’re eligible for Medicare if you’re 65 or older and either a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident.

You can also qualify for Medicare in Arkansas before 65. This may happen if:

  • You receive disability benefits,
  • Have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or
  • Have Lou Gehrig’s disease.

You can enroll in Original Medicare, Parts A and B, during these periods:

  • Initial Enrollment Period: This is the seven-month period when you’re first eligible. It starts three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months later.
  • General Enrollment Period: What if you don’t sign up during the Initial Enrollment Period? You can sign up during the General Enrollment Period. This takes place from January 1 to March 31 every year. The effective date would be July 1. You may have to pay a penalty for Part A and Part B for not signing up when you were first eligible.
  • Special Enrollment Period: You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you delayed Part A or Part B since you have other health coverage. This could be the case if you have a group plan. You won’t have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a Special Enrollment Period. You can sign up when your group coverage ends or when you stop working.

What if you aren’t automatically enrolled? You can sign up for Medicare in Arkansas in these ways:

  • Online on the Social Security website. You can enroll at the time you apply for retirement benefits. You can also apply for Medicare only.
  • By phone at 1-800-772-1213. If you are a TTY user, call 1-800-325-0778. Social Security phone lines are open Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
  • If you worked for a railroad, you can contact the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) to apply for Medicare. Call 1-877-772-5772, Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 3:30PM. TTY users call 1-312-751-4701.
  • In person at a local Social Security office. To find locations in Arkansas, use the Social Security Office Locator.

Medicare in Arkansas Plan Options

Once you are enrolled in Medicare Part A or Part B, you’re eligible for Medicare Part D. You may also be eligible for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement insurance plans. These plans are only available through private insurance companies contracted with Medicare.

Here is an overview of the main types of health insurance for Medicare in Arkansas:

  • Medicare Advantage (Part C): Medicare Advantage is an alternative way to receive your Original Medicare benefits. Some plans offer additional benefits, like vision, dental, and hearing aids. In 2020, everyone with Medicare in Arkansas will have access to a Medicare Advantage plan with a zero-dollar monthly premium. You’ll still need to pay your Part B premium. You’ll also need to pay any plan premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
  • Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage): Part D is optional prescription drug coverage. If you have Original Medicare in Arkansas, you can get your Part D coverage through a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan. A good time to enroll in Medicare Part D may be during your Initial Enrollment Period.
  • Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans: These plans provide your Original Medicare health benefits (Part C) and prescription drug benefits (Part D) under a single plan.
  • Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance plans: Medigap plans are offered by private insurance companies. They can help you pay for out-of-pocket costs for services covered under Original Medicare.

Medicare in Arkansas Resources

Here are state resources that may help you find out more about Medicare in Arkansas.

  • Arkansas Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP): Get information on Medicare and long-term care. Contact SHIIP at 1-800-224-6330 or 1-501-371-2782. You can call Monday through Friday, 8:00AM to 4:30PM ET.
  • Arkansas Division of Aging and Adult Services: Learn about state services for older adults. Contact the department at 1-501-682-2441.
  • Arkansas Senior Medicare Patrol: Find out about common Medicare scams. Learn steps you can take to prevent fraud. Call the Patrol at 1-501-320-6457. Call toll-free at 1-866-726-2916.
  • Arkansas Medicaid: If you’re on Medicare with limited income, you may qualify for help with Medicare costs. Learn if you may be eligible and how to apply. Call the Arkansas Medicaid office at 1-800-482-5431 (in-state toll-free) or 682-8501 (local and out-of-state), Monday to Friday, 8AM to 4:30PM ET.

Learn more about how Medicare in Arkansas works:

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.

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