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Medicare Supplement Plans in Arkansas
What is a Medicare Supplement plan?
A Medicare Supplement plan, also referred to as Medigap, is a way for beneficiaries in Arkansas (as in other states) to help pay their Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) out-of-pocket costs. These plans offer coverage to fill in the "gaps" left by Part A and Part B for costs like coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles. A Medicare Supplement policy is not designed to be a stand-alone plan, and it cannot be used in place of Original Medicare.
Medicare Supplement plans are available to beneficiaries in Arkansas who are already enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. In addition to coverage for the costs listed above, these plans might include coverage of hospice care copayments, blood, or emergency medical care when traveling outside of the country.
Enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan in Arkansas
Generally, the best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period typically begins the month you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B, and lasts for six months. During this time, insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to Medicare beneficiaries based solely on medical history or pre-existing medical conditions.
You can apply for a Medigap plan after the Open Enrollment Period is over. However, beneficiaries that enroll later may be subject to higher premiums or denial of coverage altogether.
Under federal law, insurance companies offering Medicare Supplement plans in Arkansas (as in most other states) must provide standardized coverage based on plan type. There are 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans, and each plan is classified by the letters A through N (Plans E, H, I, and J are no longer sold). Each lettered plan must offer the same benefits regardless of which private insurance company offers it. However, plans with the same letter may have different costs based on the company offering it, and the specific location of the plan.
Choosing a Medicare Supplement plan in Arkansas
When shopping for a Medicare Supplement plan, it's important to choose a plan that may meet your medical and financial needs. First, determine which plan type offers the coverage you need most. Once you have chosen a Medigap plan type by letter, select a specific policy based on the overall cost of the coverage.
Note that prescription drug coverage has not been included with Medicare Supplement plans since 2005. If you're interested in Medicare prescription drug coverage and you're enrolled in Original Medicare, you can add a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Like Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are available from private insurance companies.
Medicare Supplement plans don't generally include routine vision, dental, or hearing care. If you're interested in this kind of coverage, you might want to look into Medicare Advantage plans. These plans are offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must cover at least everything that Medicare Part A and Part B cover, and often include other benefits, such as routine vision care. Many Medicare Advantage plans also include prescription drug coverage. You can't enroll in both Medicare Advantage and a Medigap plan at the same time.