Medicare is a valuable health insurance benefit offered by the federal government. Most of the rules surrounding the program are set at the federal level, but some rules are customizable by the individual states. One of the most important regulations set by individual states has to do with Medicare Supplement plan eligibility. In this guide, we’ll review the Arkansas Medicare eligibility requirements for 2022 plans.
The basis for all Medicare coverage, including Medicare Supplement Insurance (also known as Medigap coverage) is Original Medicare. This is the basic benefit provided by the government. Original Medicare is split up into two separate “parts:” A, which provides hospital insurance coverage, and B, which is medical insurance.
If you’re a United States citizen or a permanent legal resident (lawfully residing in the U.S. for at least 5 years), you’ll be eligible to enroll in Parts A and B at some point in your life. You won’t actually get to start using this coverage until you meet one of four criteria:
When your entry into the program is triggered by disability or illness, there is no minimum age requirement.
The vast majority of people enter Medicare around their 65th birthday. For these people, how and when they enter Medicare depends on two criteria:
People who choose to keep working beyond age 65 often delay the start of their Part B benefits. When you do this, you’ll have the right to enroll once your employer coverage comes to an end. For people who want their Medicare to start at age 65, they may or may not have to manually enroll in the program, depending on whether they’re already receiving Social Security.
If you’re taking Social Security by the time you turn 65, your enrollment into Medicare Part A and B will be automatic. However, if you’ve delayed your Social Security benefit, and many people do, you’ll have to manually enroll in Part A and B during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
Your IEP lasts for seven months. It begins three months before your 65th birthday and it ends three months after your 65th birth month.
Once you’re actively enrolled in Parts A and B, you’ll have the right to enroll in a private Medicare Insurance plan if you want to. These private plans consist of Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement Insurance.
If you want Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug coverage, you’ll be able to get it regardless of how old you are when you enter Medicare. However, you may not be able to get Medicare Supplement Insurance before age 65 in Arkansas.
Federal law allows each state to determine whether you can get Medigap coverage before age 65. In Arkansas, Medigap insurers are required to offer at least one plan to people under 65. However, they’re allowed to charge much higher premiums for this coverage, and most of them do. For this reason, you might want to consider a different private Medicare plan if you enter Medicare before age 65. Once you turn 65, you’ll be able to enroll in Medicare Supplement at a much lower price, and you’ll have more options available.
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