Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed to provide senior citizens living on a fixed income with affordable health coverage. Original Medicare includes Part A, which mostly covers hospital visits, and Part B, which deals with doctor visits and outpatient procedures. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover everything, and the expensive gaps in Original Medicare coverage which exist today could result in catastrophically high medical bills if you aren’t covered. One affordable solution to this problem is to get supplemental coverage through a Medicare Supplement in Arkansas (a.k.a. “Medigap”). Policy. If you are at least 65 years old and currently enrolled in Medicare, then you can sign up for a Medigap policy.
Federal Regulations for Medicare Supplements
The CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is the governmental body responsible for regulating the 10 Medigap plans which are currently available for purchase. Because the plans are regulated, you can rest assured that Plan F coverage in Arkansas is the same as it would be in any other state. All you have to worry about is choosing the right company, and finding an affordable premium.
Medigap Enrollment in Arkansas
Of the 14 plans in the chart below, only 10 are available for purchase at this time. E, H, I, and J were discontinued in 2010. However, seniors who signed up for those plans prior to their discontinuation are still legally entitled to receive coverage under the plan they originally purchased.
Plan Coverage & Cost
The cost you pay for Medigap coverage will be determined by a wide variety of factors. Do seniors who live in your county seek medical treatment often? Are you a smoker? Are you relatively young, and in good health? Even your gender can determine the price of your monthly premium.
Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans in Arkansas
By far, Plan F is the most popular choice in Arkansas with more than 52,000 currently enrolled. Plan G is a distant second because, for some seniors, paying the Medicare Part B deductible themselves is less costly than signing up for Plan F.
Your overall health and personal circumstances are largely responsible for which Medigap plan will suit your needs the most. Plan F is the most comprehensive, which is part of the reason it is so popular. However, for some Arkansas seniors, Plan G is the more affordable option. Furthermore, seniors who don’t anticipate making many doctor visits but still find their Part B deductible a little too high can benefit from Plan C over Plan F.
Helpful Medigap Tips & Tricks
Seniors in Arkansas have some unique healthcare needs based on state and local laws. For this reason, we’re in the process of gathering data on plans near you to make sure you can get the plan you need at a great price.
Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions
Medigap isn’t your only option for supplementing your Medicare coverage gaps – but it is the most flexible one. Many other types of supplemental coverage, Medicare Advantage in particular, limit which doctors you can visit and which facilities you can get care from. Going outside of these pre-approved networks can be costly, and the approval process can be daunting. Medigap, on the other hand, will allow you to see any doctor or visit any facility which accepts Medicare.
Currently, we are looking into various doctors and medical networks in Alabama. Once we compile all of the data and find the best deals near you, this section will have a whole list of affordable and professional doctors for you to choose from. So check back often!
Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage
Unfortunately, neither dental nor vision care is covered by Medicare or Medigap. Until the laws change, you must acquire vision & dental insurance from a private company on your own, or pay out of pocket. Prescription drugs, however, are a different story. Medigap used to offer prescription drug benefits until Medicare Part D came along. Now that Part D is providing that service for seniors, it is no longer necessary for Medigap plans to provide such benefits.
Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll
For easy enrollment with little to no hassle, you’ll want to enroll in a Medigap policy right around the time you enroll in Original Medicare (within your first 6 months of Medicare coverage, to be exact). The longer you wait, the more complicated the process can become.
- Initial Enrollment Period: Enrolling in a Medigap policy during your IEP (within 6 months of enrolling in Medicare) guarantees your acceptance and coverage with no health surveys or medical exams.
- Guaranteed Issue: Like the IEP mentioned above, you will be automatically accepted without having to answer invasive health questions or undergo an exam. Guarantee Issue is usually for seniors who don’t enroll during the IEP because they were previously covered by an employer or group health plan.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): Unlike most forms of insurance, you can enroll in a Medigap policy at any time. You are not restricted by an annual enrollment period.
- Underwritten: If you miss the IEP and don’t qualify for Guarantee Issue, you may have to go through the underwriting process. This usually involves questions about your health, and possibly a medical exam in order to evaluate whether or not your insurance company can cover you.
Free Look Period
By federal law, you have 30 days to evaluate your Medigap policy after your coverage begins. If, for whatever reason, you are unsatisfied with your coverage, you may cancel your policy for a full refund within your first 30 days.