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Medicare Advantage Plans in Arkansas

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What are Medicare Advantage plans?

Medicare Advantage, also called Medicare Part C, is a program that lets beneficiaries in Arkansas get their Medicare coverage through a private, Medicare-approved insurance company. The same is true in other states. In many cases you get a wider range of benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan than with Original Medicare.

A Medicare Advantage plan offers all the benefits included with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), but may provide additional coverage for services like vision, dental, and hearing care. An exception is hospice care; this Part A benefit is still covered under Part A, not through the Medicare Advantage plan.

Prescription drug coverage with Medicare Advantage plans

Original Medicare includes very limited prescription drug coverage, restricted to specific drugs in certain situations. Some Medicare Advantage plans in Arkansas (as in other states) also include prescription drug benefits. They’re referred to as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans, and they provide all your Medicare coverage in a single plan.

A Medicare Advantage plan in Arkansas is generally available to any beneficiary already enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B who lives in the plan’s service area. You’re still in the Medicare program when you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, and you have to keep paying your Part B monthly premium. The rules are the same in all states.

Because Medicare Advantage plans are available through Medicare-approved private insurance companies, some plans might look like health plans you may have belonged to while working. There may be a number of plan types to choose from, such as Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), and Private Fee-for-Service plans (PFFSs). Some types of plans might not be available in your county in Arkansas.

You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan in Arkansas during certain election periods. Your first opportunity to sign up is during your Initial Coverage Election Period, which is usually when you first become eligible for Medicare benefits, based on age or disability. You must also be an American citizen or permanent legal resident of at least five continuous years to qualify for Medicare. If you don’t sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan when you’re first eligible, you can enroll during the Annual Election Period. In certain situations you might qualify for a Special Election Period.

Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan in Arkansas

Medicare Advantage plans in Arkansas can vary in terms of the coverage they offer beyond Original Medicare, their availability, and their costs. Some plans may offer monthly premiums as low as $0, but there are usually other plan costs to consider and compare, such as copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximum amounts. If you select to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will still need to continue paying your Part B premium.

If you need coverage for your prescription medications, you may want to make sure that the Medicare Advantage plans you’re considering include this coverage. Every Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan has its own formulary, which is a list of drugs covered by the plan. You can match your medications against formularies of different plans to see if they cover your prescriptions. A plan may change its formulary at any time. You will receive notice from your plan when necessary.

Keep in mind that additional features like routine vision or hearing care may be included in a Medicare Advantage plan, as well as dental coverage.

With all these factors in mind, you can start comparing plan options and perhaps can find one that may fit your needs. You can enter your zip code in the form on this page to display a list of available Medicare Advantage plan options in your part of Arkansas.

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