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How Do Medicare Advantage Plans Work in Arkansas?



Arkansas Children's Hospital
Arkansas Children's Hospital
1 Children's Way
Little Rock, AR 72202
Phone: (501) 364-1100
Plus Code: PPR5+95 Little Rock, Big Rock Township, AR
Map: Map


Until recently, there was only one way to go when it came to Medicare coverage.  First you would acquire Medicare coverage.  You would then supplement your coverage by purchasing a Medicare Supplement plan.  A stand-alone Medicare plan contains "gaps" in coverage that can lead to significant out-of-pocket costs for several possible medical circumstances.  There are a variety of Medicare supplement health plan options that provide different levels of supplement protection.  The various plan types are designated by letters of the alphabet (A-N).  Generally, the more comprehensive the coverage, the higher the cost of the supplement plan.

Good to know:  Just because your doctor writes you a prescription doesn't mean you can fill it.  Expensive medications for treatment of certain cancers, diabetes, liver disease, and a host of other maladies can cost patients tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars if the insurer does not cover the drugs.  But even if the drugs are covered, insurers have been known to try to stall, just to see if the patient will come up with the money to pay for the drugs rather than wait on the insurer's approval.  What can we say?  It happens.
In Arkansas, Medicare Advantage Plans are an "all in one" alternative to the Original Medicare / Supplement plan arrangement.  These plans are offered by private companies approved by Medicare.  If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare.  These "all in one" plans include Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and usually Medicare prescription drug (Part D).

Medicare Advantage Plans cover all services covered by original Medicare.  In addition, Advantage plans are required to offer at least the same level of coverage as the Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.  In almost every case, Advantage plans feature several attractive additional benefits that are not covered by original Medicare.  Dependent upon which Arkansas advantage plan you choose, these benefits may include coverage for vision care, hearing aids, dental care, prescription drug coverage, transportation to and from medical facilities, and even fitness center membership.  The end result is a very comprehensive medical insurance plan.

If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.  The private insurer determines what the Medicare Advantage plan premium will be.  This premium amount will vary from one plan style to another.

Medicare Advantage plans tend to be significantly less expensive than Medicare Supplement coverage.  Some Medicare Advantage plans may have premiums as low as $0.

Copay costs may also be less with a Medicare Advantage plan.  For, example, if you visit a primary care physician under a Medicare Advantage plan, you may pay a copayment of $10.  However, if you visit a primary care physician under Original Medicare, you may have a coinsurance of 20%, which could be significantly more than $10.

A Medicare Advantage plan will limit your maximum out-of-pocket expense.  Once you have spent that maximum, you pay nothing for covered medical services for the remainder of the year.

Good to know:  When it comes to medical services, shop around for a better deals.  Patients often think that medical fees are set, but just like any other business, costs for goods and services can vary widely.  Shop the cost of exams, tests, procedures, medications, nursing facilities, and imaging centers before non-emergency events.  The price of an MRI on one side of Main Street can be $500, and $2,500 on the other.  Healthcare pricing, as a rule, is arbitrary.  Even the pharmacy you choose can be the difference in hundred of dollars annually.
Medicare Advantage Rules and Guidelines

Medicare pays a fixed amount for your care each month to the companies offering Medicare Advantage Plans.  In turn, these companies must follow rules set by Medicare.

Each Medicare Advantage Plan can charge different Out-of-pocket costs.  They can also have different rules for how you get services – for example:

  • Whether you need a referral to see a specialist.
  • What shared medical costs you are responsible for.


Which Medicare Avantage Plan Carriers Are Available in Arkansas?

Following is a list of some of the insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans in Arkansas:

  • Allwell - Arkansas. (Several plan variations)
  • Aetna - Arkansas . (Several plan variations)
  • Cigna - Arkansas.
  • Humana. (Several plan variations)
  • Blue Advantage. (Several plan variations)
  • UnitedHealthcare. (Several plan variations)
  • AARP. (Several plan variations)

Good to know:  Looking for healthcare related savings?  Join the Farm Bureau.  Believe it or not, you don't need to be a farmer to join your state's farm bureau.  By paying an annual membership fee you become eligible for all sorts of benefits - including discounted group health insurance in some states.  If you or your spouse are self-employed, this may work for you.  For more information, Google "farm bureau" and your state's name.
For more information concerning Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, please give us a call.


Other articles:
Medicare Supplement Insurance Rates in Arkansas.
Medicare Supplement Vs Medicare Advantage Plans.
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