Types of Arizona Medicare Plans
Original Medicare, Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), is available through the federal government to anyone who is eligible for Medicare.
Medicare Advantage, or Part C, offers the same benefits as Original Medicare but is offered through Medicare-approved insurance companies. Some may include other benefits like routine vision and dental or wellness programs. While these plans must cover everything that Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) covers, specific plan details and pricing may vary. You still need to keep paying your Medicare Part B premium in addition to any premium the Medicare Advantage plan charges.
Medicare Advantage in Arizona
In most areas of the country, Medicare beneficiaries can choose whether they want to use Original Medicare (coverage provided directly by the federal government) or enroll in a private Medicare Advantage plan.
39 percent of Arizona Medicare beneficiaries had Medicare Advantage coverage as of 2017, compared with an average of 33 percent nationwide. Most of the rest of the state’s Medicare beneficiaries had coverage under Original Medicare, but there are also some enrollees in Arizona who have
Medicare Cost plans.
There are Medicare Advantage plans for sale in all 15 counties in Arizona in 2019, but plan availability varies considerably from one part of the state to another. In part of Pinal County, there are only two plans (the rest of Pinal County has 31 plans available), while residents in Maricopa County can select from among 41 different Medicare Advantage plans.
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans refer to the prescription drug benefit that is offered by private Medicare-approved insurance companies. Original Medicare beneficiaries can get this coverage with a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan. As with Medicare Advantage, coverage details and pricing can vary by county and plan.
How to apply for Medicare in Arizona
Medicare enrollment in Arizona is the same as any other state. To qualify for Medicare, you must be either a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years. Those who receive benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will be enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, automatically. Those with disabilities are eligible before age 65, and will be enrolled once they have received SSA disability benefits for more than 24 straight months.
Because you must pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, you have the option of turning it down once you receive your “Welcome to Medicare” packet in the mail a few months before your eligibility date. Please note that if you do refuse this coverage when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare.
If you are not automatically enrolled, you may contact your local SSA office or register online or over the phone.
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, 7AM to 7PM.
- Visit the Social Security website.
- If you worked for a railroad, call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users call 312-751-4701), Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30 PM.