When you turn 65 years old, you can sign up for health insurance from the federal government. Medicare plans in Alaska are also available to people under age 65 who have certain disabilities, end stage renal disease (ESRD), or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported the following information on Medicare trends in Alaska for the 2021 plan year:
- A total of 104,734 residents of Alaska are enrolled in Medicare.
- There are no Medicare Advantage plans available in Alaska for 2021
- There are 11 different Medigap plans offered in Alaska for 2021.
Part A and Part B together are known as original Medicare.
Part A covers:
Part B covers:
- outpatient care (doctors’ visits)
- preventive care and screenings
- imaging and laboratory tests
- durable medical equipment
Medicare Advantage in Alaska
Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans, where available, are sold through private insurance companies that contract with Medicare.
They offer everything covered under parts A and B in a single policy. Some plans also include Part D (prescription drug) coverage, along with other benefits not covered under original Medicare, such as dental, vision, hearing, and other services.
In 2021, there are no Medicare Advantage plans sold in Alaska. It’s important to review the Medicare website prior to enrollment periods, so you’ll know if any Medicare Advantage options have been added in Alaska.
You can use the Medicare plan finder tool and enter your ZIP code to see if any Advantage plans have become available in your area.
Medicare supplement plans in Alaska
Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap), from private insurance carriers, helps pay for things like copays and coinsurance if you’re on original Medicare. Medigap can’t be combined with Medicare Advantage plans.
Original Medicare doesn’t have an out-of-pocket limit each year, so you’ll pay:
- a Part A deductible each time you’re admitted to a hospital
- an annual Part B deductible
- coinsurance on Part B care for the entire year
Many companies offer Medigap plans in Alaska. In 2021, some of the companies offering Medigap plans throughout the state include:
- AARP – UnitedHealthcare
- Mutual of Omaha
- Premera BlueCross BlueShield of Alaska
- State Farm
Coverage and premiums vary for supplemental plans, so review plan documents carefully to get what you need.
Some people will be automatically enrolled in Medicare but most need to enroll during the correct time period.
- Initial enrollment. Your initial enrollment period begins 3 months before you turn 65 years old. It continues through the month of your birthday and the 3 months that follow.
- Medicare open enrollment (October 15 to December 7). During open enrollment each year, you can evaluate your plan and switch between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage if those plans are available in your area. You can also add, drop, or change your Part D coverage.
- General enrollment (January 1 to March 31). If you missed your initial enrollment period, you can enroll during general enrollment at the beginning of the year. But note that your coverage won’t begin until July 1.
- Special enrollment periods. If you lose coverage under your current plan for certain reasons, such as losing an employer-sponsored plan or moving out of your current plan’s coverage area, you will have a special enrollment period to enroll in Medicare or change plans.
Tips for enrolling in Medicare in Alaska
Sometimes Medicare can be confusing, so before you enroll it’s important to check the coverage and make sure you’re getting what you need.
It’s important to know:
- when your initial enrollment period will be
- whether Medicare Advantage plans are available in your area
- if you want a Medigap policy to help with costs
- whether you need to get a Part D plan
Medicare Alaska resources are available to help you if you have questions about enrollment, plans, and coverage. Here a list:
- Alaska’s Medicare Information Office (800-478-6065) and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which offer counseling services to help with Medicare
- Getting ready for Medicare
- Help paying for Medicare
- Medicare Part D coverage
- Medigap coverage
- Medicare Advantage plans
- Calendar of outreach events
- Access Alaska (907-479-7940), which is a community-based nonprofit agency that offers Medicare counseling and assistance through SHIP grants
- More than 100,000 Alaska residents are enrolled in Medicare.
- There are no Medicare Advantage plans offered in Alaska in 2021, but check Medicare.gov in the fall to see if any plans will be added for 2022.
- There are several Medigap plan options if you live in Alaska and are looking for additional coverage.