Best Health Insurance Plans In Arkansas

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Looking for health care in Arkansas? According to a study by US News, AR has the second worst health care in the country. That study considers access, quality, and good public health. But it’s not all bad news – Arkansas residents still have plenty of health care options.

Health Care Choices in Arkansas

There are several ways for Arkansas residents to get health care in their state.

  1. Employer-provided
    1. From your employer
    2. Through your spouse's employer
    3. Through COBRA
  2. Individual or family plans
    1. Through HealthCare.gov
    2. Directly from a health insurance company
  3. Government-assisted
    1. Medicare
    2. Medicaid

Where do most Arkansas residents get their health insurance coverage?

Arkansas Health Insurance Sources
Sources Percent
Employer-Provided 44%
Individual or family 9%
Medicaid 21%
Medicare 17%
Other Public Care 2%
Uninsured 8%
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population

Eight percent of AR residents are uninsured, less than the national average. That’s a boon to residents. A higher percentage of uninsured people boosts costs for insured people.

Arkansas Health Insurance Costs and Rate Factors

AR residents spend an average of $7,408 per year on health care, about $600 less than the rest of the country. What affects rates in Arkansas? Prices vary person to person, based primarily on these factors:

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Body Mass Index

According to the CDC, a high body mass makes you more likely to suffer from several serious health conditions. That’s why insurers analyze you BMI to determine your risk-level. A high BMI often leads to higher insurance rates.

In 2016, Arkansas had a 35.7 percent obesity rate, the third highest rate in the country. Out of the many state residents who used QuoteWizard to compare health insurance plans, 40 percent have a BMI in the obese range.

Tobacco Use

Due to the substantial risks from smoking, tobacco users pay more for health insurance. About 23.6 percent of AR residents are smokers, the third highest rate in the country.

Age

According to HealthCare.gov, a health insurance plan costs up to three times more for an older person compared to a younger person. AR residents who used QuoteWizard to shop for health insurance are, on average, 41 years old.

Plan Type

Marketplace plans come in metal tiers: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The higher tier of coverage you want, the more you’ll have to pay in monthly premiums.

How much should you expect to pay monthly in AR? These are the average rates for each plan type in the state for a middle-aged resident in 2018:

Arkansas Martketplace Plan Rates
Bronze Silver Gold
$296 $340 $409
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Change in Average Marketplace Premiums by Metal Tier

Gold plans cost about 38 percent more than bronze plans. That’s not much of a surprise, considering gold plans cover 80 percent of medical costs, whereas bronze plans cover 60 percent of costs.

Some people also qualify for a catastrophic plan, the lowest level of coverage available. Catastrophic plans come with a $7,150 yearly deductible and they’re designed to save you from bankruptcy after an unexpected medical issue. Even with a higher monthly premium, you’ll save money with a bronze or silver plan if you need to use your health insurance.

Location

Your zip code plays a big role in how much you’ll pay monthly for health insurance. Every state has different health care rules, regulations, and providers.

Also, health insurance companies use community-rating to determine your costs. Rates are based in part on the combined claims that everyone files. So, your prices could be higher if your neighbor files an abnormally high number of claims.

That means living in a more health-conscious state could keep your premiums low. According to America’s Health Rankings, Arkansas is the 48th healthiest state in the country.

Arkansas Health Insurance Companies

Arkansas residents can choose from a few health care companies. These providers offer both individual and family plans:

Coverage varies based on the county you live in. Check provider websites to see how your zip code may affect your policy.

Arkansas Health Insurance Laws

The Affordable Care Act limits health insurance companies from charging consumers more based on certain factors.

There’s a limit to how much you can pay out-of-pocket for a marketplace plan. In 2018, the out-of-pocket maximum is $7,350 for an individual plan and $14,700 for a family plan.

Arkansas law requires health insurance companies to provide at least some coverage for the following services:

  • Emergency room services
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Off-label drug use
  • Nutritional counseling for diabetes
  • Diabetic supplies and education
  • Diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders
  • Cancer screenings

There are additional services that state law requires companies to provide coverage for. Find the entire list at cms.gov.

Medicare and Medicaid in Arkansas

Medicare and Medicaid are both government-funded programs that offer affordable health care. Medicare aids seniors, whereas Medicaid helps low-income families and children.

Medicare

Medicare is for residents 65 and older. There are several options within the program, including parts A, B, C, D, and supplemental coverage plans. You may also qualify for one of these Medicare Savings Programs:

Qualified Individual (QI-1):

  • Single person with a monthly income lower than $1,377 and assets less than $7,390.
  • Couple with a monthly income lower than $1,847 and assets less than $11,090.

Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB):

  • Single person with a monthly income lower than $1,226 and assets less than $7,390.
  • Couple with a monthly income lower than $1,644 and assets less than $11,090.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB):

  • Single person with a monthly income lower than $1,025 and assets less than $7,390.
  • Couple with a monthly income lower than $1,374 and assets less than $11,090.

AR Seniors:

  • Single person with a monthly income lower than $804 and assets less than $7,390.
  • Couple with a monthly income lower than $1,083 and assets less than $11,090.

Medicaid

Medicaid aids low-income families and children. These are the state’s Medicaid financial requirements:

Arkansas Medicaid Financial Requirements
Household Size Maximum Yearly Income
1 $16,040
2 $21,599
3 $27,159
4 $32,718
5 $38,277
6 $43,837
7 $49,396
8 $54,956

Arkansas Insurance Department

Website:
Homepage
Insurance Commissioner:
Allen W. Kerr
Insurance Hotline:
(800) 282 - 9134
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am to 4:30 pm
File a Consumer Insurance Complaint
Complaint Page

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