Finding Medicare Plans in Alaska
With so many options available, searching for the right Medicare coverage can feel overwhelming, even if you’ve been on Medicare for awhile. There are Medicare plans in Alaska to choose from and we’re here to help you find affordable coverage that’s right for you.
Who’s Eligible for Medicare in Alaska?
Medicare is a federally sponsored health insurance program for people 65 or older and people under the age of 65 with a qualifying disability. If you are under 65, you can qualify for Medicare if you have received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for 24 months, have End Stage Renal Disease, or have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
To qualify for Medicare, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident, having lived in the US for 5 years or more. You or your spouse must also have worked at a job that paid into your Medicare coverage through Social Security deductions for at least 10 years.
We can help if you are unsure about your eligibility for Medicare or will be turning 65 in the coming months. Speak with a licensed insurance agent now by calling the number above.
What Medicare Plans Are Available in Alaska?
Original Medicare Part A and Part B
Original Medicare provides coverage for certain supplies and services that are medically necessary. Original Medicare has two parts:
Part A (Hospital Insurance): Part A covers inpatient healthcare, like hospital admissions, hospice care, and nursing home care (as long as custodial care isn’t the only care needed). Once you turn 65 and become eligible for Social Security, you may be automatically enrolled in Part A.
Part B (Medical Insurance): Part B covers outpatient health care, like ambulance services, durable medical equipment (walkers, canes, blood sugar monitors, etc.), and mental health care. Part B also covers some preventive services, like flu shots, cardiovascular screenings, and diabetes screenings. If you want Part B, you’ll need to enroll in it yourself. You may not be automatically enrolled in Part B when you turn 65.
Medicare beneficiaries still pay a portion of their medical bills through coinsurance, copays, and deductibles.For this reason, Medicare Advantage plans are available through Medicare-approved private insurance companies.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
Medicare Advantage plans work as an alternative to the coverage provided by Original Medicare Parts A and B. If you’re currently enrolled in Original Medicare Part A and Part B, you can choose to enroll in Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private health insurance companies contracted with Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must provide the same coverage as Original Medicare Part A and B, except hospice care, which is still covered by Part A. The main difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans is that Medicare Advantage plans can include additional benefits, such as dental and vision coverage. Some plans, called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans, also provide prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans can have lower deductibles and copays than Original Medicare. If enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will continue paying your Part B premium in addition to the premium charged by your Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)
Prescription drugs are generally not covered by Original Medicare nor Medigap plans. Medicare Part D, known as Medicare Prescription Drug plans, provide coverage for prescription medications. These plans available through and coordinated by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. Any beneficiary can sign-up for Medicare Part D as long as they are eligible for Original Medicare Part A and/or Part B and permanently reside in the service area of a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Part D coverage is optional, but you might pay a late-enrollment penalty if you don’t enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan as soon as you’re eligible.
Part D coverage comes in the form of a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that works alongside your Original Medicare, or, with a Medicare Advantage plan, known as as a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan.
Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)
Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans, work with Original Medicare Parts A and B to fill in gaps in coverage. Medigap plans are available through private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare to provide coverage for things that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles.
When Can I Enroll In A Plan?
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
You are first eligible to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This period begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and continues for three months after. This means that you have a total of seven months to enroll.
The Annual Election Period (AEP) provides an opportunity to make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug coverage. This period runs from October 15th to December 7th each year.
Key Fact: The General Enrollment Period provides you an opportunity to enroll in Original Medicare if you missed your IEP. This period occurs every year from January 1st to March 31st. Then, you’ll have an opportunity to select a Medicare Advantage Plan from April 1st through June 30th.
Medicare Supplement Plans
To ensure that you get the plan of your choice, be sure to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period. For Medigap, your IEP is six months long from the start of your 65th birthday month.
Important Note: You could be charged higher premiums or be denied coverage entirely if you don’t enroll in a Medigap plan during your Initial Enrollment Period.
Special Enrollment Periods
A Special Enrollment Period allows you to enroll or make changes to your Medicare coverage outside of the normal enrollment periods. Qualifying life events include moving out of the plan’s service area, moving into or out of a care facility, and more. Our licensed insurance agents can help determine whether you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
How Can I Compare Plans?
We’ll help you navigate the Medicare plans offered in Alaska to find the right level of coverage for you. Give us a call to speak to a licensed insurance agent, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM ET. You can also compare plans online by using our form below.
Additional Medicare Resources in Alaska
The State Health Insurance Information Program of Alaska (SHIP) is a free service that provides unbiased, one-on-one insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers.
The Medicare Savings Program in Alaska is available to Medicare beneficiaries with low income and assets to help pay for medical expenses, like premiums and deductibles.
Sources: Medicare.gov; dhss.alaska.gov