Discover which Part D plans offer the best value for Arkansas residents, and learn how much you can expect to pay for these top-rated options.

If you become eligible for Medicare soon, you may have started exploring your plan options. Along with standard medical and hospital insurance, the federal Medicare program also offers optional prescription drug coverage.

If you don’t currently take prescription medications, you might think that skipping out on Medicare prescription drug plans is a good way to save money. However, it’s recommended for Medicare beneficiaries to enroll in at least the most basic form of coverage to avoid incurring late-enrollment penalty fees. Plus, it’s always reassuring to have coverage just in case. 

Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has made great strides in the federal Medicare program, it can still be a little confusing to understand your options. Here, we cover the top-rated Medicare Part D plans in Arkansas and everything you need to know before enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan.

Did you know that the Insurify Medicare comparison tool can help you save money? Enter your ZIP code to uncover the best Medicare Part D prescription drug plans near you. Try it today!

 

 

What Are the Best Medicare Part D Plans in Arkansas?

What makes Medicare Part D a little tricky to shop for is that unlike Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B), which costs the same nationwide, there are multiple Part D plans—all with different price points and coverage details. This is because Medicare Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies. So even though all insurance plans are regulated by the CMS, each state will have its own Part D plan offerings.

This isn’t a bad thing, though. Having options should be seen as a positive because you’re more likely to find a plan that matches your healthcare preferences and needs. Due to the personal nature of healthcare decisions, it can also be tricky to provide a universal recommendation as to what the “best” Part D plan is in Arkansas

However, looking at the top-rated plans is a great starting point. These eight plans we’ll dive into were rated based on the Medicare star rating system, which takes into consideration factors like monthly premium, drug costs (co-payment and coinsurance), and more.

#1 BlueMedicare Premier Rx S5795-002 (PDP)

    • Monthly premium: $140.10
    • Deductible: $0
    • Star rating: 4/5

Finding a zero-deductible Part D plan isn’t all too common—which is just one of the reasons this plan has earned a top ranking. Although the monthly premium is on the higher side, this plan offers great coverage. If you take many prescription medications, this might be a great fit due to the $0 and low co-pays. Generic Tier 1 drugs are just $2 for a 30-day supply and $5 for a 90-day supply when purchased from one of your insurance plan‘s preferred pharmacies. You can also choose to order these prescriptions through the mail for the same cost if you want to skip dealing with traffic. 

#2 BlueMedicare Saver Rx S5795-008 (PDP)

    • Monthly premium: $19
    • Deductible: $325
    • Star rating: 4/5

This plan’s monthly premium is much more affordable and comes with a reasonable annual deductible. The upside to this plan is that the co-pays and coinsurance for prescriptions cost the same no matter what pharmacy you purchase them from. Many insurance plans have a preferred list of pharmacies with cheaper rates, but this plan has the same rates across the board. Tier 1 drugs are $4–$10, Tier 2 drugs are $10–$25, and Tier 3 drugs are $47–$117.50. For Tier 4 drugs, you pay a 50 percent coinsurance, and Tier 5 drugs are a 27 percent coinsurance

#3 BlueMedicare Value Rx S5795-003 (PDP)

    • Monthly premium: $58
    • Deductible: $310
    • Star rating: 4/5

This Part D plan is moderately priced with affordable co-pays. Tier 1 drugs are just $3–$7.50, Tier 2 drugs are $6–$15, and Tier 3 drugs are $40–$100 when purchased from your plan’s provider network of preferred pharmacies. For Tier 4 brand-name drugs, you can expect to pay a 47 percent coinsurance. Tier 5 specialty drugs have a 27 percent coinsurance rate. With this plan, you also have the option to order your prescriptions by mail from the insurance plan‘s preferred pharmacy list.

#4 WellCare Classic S4802-073 (PDP)

    • Monthly premium: $25
    • Deductible: $445
    • Star rating: 4/5

Although this plan’s deductible is on the higher side compared to other top plans, the monthly premium is reasonable, and generic drugs have very low co-pays. When purchased from a preferred pharmacy, 30-day and 90-day supplies of Tier 1 generic drugs are free—and they cost just $1–$3 at a non-preferred pharmacy. You’ll also have the option to order your prescriptions by mail with the same formulary rates as purchasing and picking up at a pharmacy location, which is a nice option to have.

#5 WellCare Value Script S4802-153 (PDP)

    • Monthly premium: $19.10
    • Deductible: $445
    • Star rating: 4/5

This plan also offers free Tier 1 generic drugs when purchased from the insurance plan‘s preferred pharmacy list. When purchased from non-preferred pharmacies, the cost is still affordable at just $5–$15. Tier 2 drugs range between a $4 and a $27 co-pay, and Tier 3 brand-name drugs range between $43 and $141. Expect to pay a 47–50 percent coinsurance for Tier 4 drugs and a 25 percent coinsurance on Tier 5 specialty drugs.

#6 WellCare Wellness Rx S4802-188 (PDP)

    • Monthly premium: $17
    • Deductible: $445
    • Star rating: 4/5

At $17 per month, this Part D plan has the lowest monthly premium of the bunch. The 30-day and 90-day supplies of Tier 1 generic drugs are also free when purchased or ordered from the plan’s preferred pharmacy list. If you purchase from a non-preferred pharmacy, the co-pays are still affordable and range between $8 and $24. 

#7 AARP MedicareRx Preferred S5820-018 (PDP)

    • Monthly premium: $86.20
    • Deductible: $0
    • Star rating: 3.5/5

This plan’s $0 deductible makes up for the higher monthly premium. With this plan, you can also save by ordering your prescriptions through the mail instead of picking up at a pharmacy location. For example, a 30-day supply of Tier 1 generic drugs costs $5 at a preferred pharmacy and $15 at a non-preferred pharmacy. However, it is $0 when ordered through the mail. Tier 2 generic drugs are also just $0 when ordered through the mail compared to $10–$20 co-pays when picking up at a pharmacy. 

#8 AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus S5921-364 (PDP)

    • Monthly premium: $46.80
    • Deductible: $445
    • Star rating: 3.5/5

This plan offers affordable co-pays for generic drugs and a lower-than-average coinsurance rate for Tier 4 brand-name drugs. Most of the other plans on this list offer a 47 percent coinsurance or greater, while this plan offers a 40 percent coinsurance—which means you are responsible for paying less.

Ready for a Medicare prescription drug plan that works for you? Use the Insurify Medicare comparison tool to find Part D plans near you. Start with your ZIP code, and you’ll be comparing plans in less than two minutes. Try it today!

How Much Does Medicare Part D Cost in Arkansas?

If you live in Arkansas, you can expect to pay a monthly premium anywhere from $7.30 to $140.10, depending on your particular plan. Although the monthly premium is a good way to gauge up-front costs, remember that the total cost of Medicare Part D is more than just the premium.

You’ll also want to consider the deductible and other out-of-pocket expenses, such as co-pays and coinsurance. If you choose a plan with a low monthly premium but high deductible and co-pays, you probably won’t be saving money if you have a lot of prescriptions to be filled. 

The amount you spend on prescriptions will also depend on what coverage phase of your plan you’re in throughout the year. All Part D plans in Arkansas have three coverage phases:

    • Initial Coverage Phase: This phase kicks in once you pay your plan’s deductible. It lasts until you reach the initial coverage limit of $4,130.
    • Catastrophic Coverage Phase: Once your out-of-pocket costs reach $6,550, this phase, with very low co-pays and coinsurance, begins.
    • Gap Coverage Phase: You’ll notice that there’s a coverage gap between the initial coverage and catastrophic coverage phases. The gap coverage phase, sometimes referred to as the “donut hole,” provides coverage during this period. In this phase, you typically pay 25 percent coinsurance for prescriptions—though the exact coinsurance amount varies by plan.

What Is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D is a prescription drug coverage plan for those who are enrolled in Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B). Below is a breakdown of what each part covers.

    • Medicare Part A: Hospital insurance
    • Medicare Part B: Medical insurance
    • Medicare Part D: Prescription drug insurance 

Who Is Eligible for Medicare Part D in Arkansas?

If you are eligible for Medicare, then you are eligible to enroll in Medicare Part D coverage in any U.S. state. To be eligible for Medicare, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident aged 65 years or older. You also may enroll in Medicare if you meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

    • Diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
    • Have received Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) for 24 consecutive months

If you have any questions about your eligibility, you can contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) by visiting www.Medicare.gov or by calling 1 (800) MEDICARE. TTY users can call 1 (877) 486-2048. 

How Do I Enroll in a Part D Plan?

Once you become eligible for Medicare coverage, you have a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period that begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after. This enrollment period is key because when you enroll for benefits during this period, you can avoid any late-enrollment fees. 

These late-enrollment fees add up over time and are eventually added to your monthly premium once you sign up for a Medicare plan. That’s why it’s recommended to at least enroll in some basic form of prescription drug coverage from the get-go. Later, during the Open Enrollment Period from October 15 to December 7, you can choose to switch plans. 

If you want to switch from Original Medicare and Part D to a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage, that can also be done during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31. 

 

 

FAQ: Arkansas Medicare Part D

Can I have Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) with a Part D plan?

It depends. If you have a Medigap plan without prescription drug coverage, you can enroll in a Part D plan. However, if your Medigap plan offers some form of drug coverage, you cannot have a Part D plan. The only way around this would be to call your Medigap plan provider and request that your drug coverage be removed. Keep in mind, though, that once you remove prescription drug coverage from a Medigap plan, you cannot add it back later.

Can I enroll in a Part D plan if I have Medicare Advantage?

Most Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, offer prescription drug coverage. In that case, you would not be able to enroll in a Part D plan since you cannot enroll in Part D if your current health insurance plan already offers drug coverage.

Is Medicare Part D free?

No. There are no premium-free Part D plans in Arkansas. If you need financial assistance affording a Part D plan, you can look into the federal Extra Help program.

If I don't take prescription drugs, should I not enroll in Medicare Part D to save money?

This is completely up to you. However, it is recommended to enroll in a Part D plan during your Initial Enrollment Period to avoid late-enrollment penalty fees that can end up costing you years later.

Conclusion: Quickly Find the Best Prescription Drug Plan by Comparing Options Online

Although shopping for Medicare Part D can seem overwhelming at first glance, it’s easy once you break everything down piece by piece. And with online tools that instantly match you with the Medicare Part D plans available to you, there’s no longer the need to contact an insurance agent to find a good health insurance plan. You can skip the hassle and find the best Part D plan for you in three easy steps:

    • Create a list of your preferences, needs, and budget. You might ask yourself questions like, What prescriptions am I actively taking? Do I have a medical or family history that might suggest the need for prescription medications in the future? How much can I afford to spend on prescriptions on an annual basis?
    • Understand your options. Learn what options are available to you and all the essential details related to Medicare Part D. (By reading this article, you’ve already taken care of this step!)
    • Compare plans online. Use the Insurify Medicare comparison tool to quickly and easily compare your options. All you need is your ZIP code to start, and you’ll be comparing plans in mere minutes. 

Saving money on Medicare is easy. Just use the Insurify Medicare comparison tool to find the right Medicare plan for you. Uncover options in your area at no cost to you. Try it today!

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Updated June 2, 2021

Emily Vasquez is a content marketing writer based in Tampa, Florida. A graduate from the University of South Florida, Emily has worked as a copywriter, communications lead, and content strategist for high-growth start-ups and global brands and retailers. You can learn more at www.emvwrites.com