Medicare plays a key role in providing health and financial security to beneficiaries residing in Alaska. Below, is important information about Medicare in Alaska. We want to help you better understand your options and make the decision-process as seamless as possible once you’re ready to enroll in Medicare or discover different coverage options.

Who Qualifies for Medicare in Alaska?

Medicare covers most Alaska residents who are 65 or older, and it also covers disabled Alaska residents. In general, Medicare enrollment in Alaska works the same way as it does in the rest of the country. If you qualify for Original Medicare, also known as Part A and Part B, it will help cover 80% of your health care costs.

When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. If you’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7-month period that:

  • Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty. You’ll be responsible for paying this penalty for as long as you have Part B, and you could have a gap in your health coverage.

Once you reach Medicare eligibility, you can begin choosing additional coverage options to help pay for the remaining 20% of your medical expenses through Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medigap, and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan.

Who Qualifies for Medicare

Alaska Medicare Enrollments

102,005

Original Medicare Plans
(Part A and B)

1,578

Medicare Advantage & Other Health Plans

66,714

Stand-alone Medicare
Part D (Drug plans)

103,583

Total Medicare Beneficiaries
in Alaska

Alaska Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)

More than 46% of Alaska Medicare beneficiaries selected Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage plans are private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. They provide all of your Original Medicare benefits and often include extra benefits such as drug, dental, and vision coverage.

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31. During this period, Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska who already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or drop their Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in Original Medicare.

Since there is such a low population in Alaska compared to other states, the availability of Medicare Advantage (Part C) has been affected. In fact, most Alaskans will not have access to a Medicare Advantage plan, as they are not currently available in Alaska. If there aren’t enough medical providers to form a strong network for Medicare Advantage plans, then insurance companies will opt out of offering these policies.

As of 2020, there are 1,578 beneficiaries with Medicare Advantage or other plans. Although individual Medicare Advantage plans aren’t available for purchase in Alaska, employers have the option of offering employer-sponsored retiree Medicare Advantage plans (known as Medicare Advantage Employer Group Waiver Plans, or MA-EGWPs).

Alaska Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance Plans

Alaska’s high-risk pool serves as a backstop for beneficiaries who are unable to qualify for Medigap coverage.

Medigap plans are used to supplement Original Medicare, covering some or all of the out-of-pocket costs (for coinsurance and deductibles) that beneficiaries would otherwise incur if they only had Original Medicare on its own. Typically, Medigap plans are popular for those who want little to no copay when they access healthcare services.

There are two initial times to enroll in a Medigap plan before and after you turn 65:

  • 6 months prior to turning 65
  • Once you turn 65, your 6 month period begins the month you enroll in Part B

During this period, an insurance company can’t use medical underwriting. 

Currently, 13 private insurers offer Medigap plans in Alaska. Since Alaska hasn’t adopted rules to ensure at least some access to Medigap plans for enrollees under the age of 65, the state has kept its high-risk pool operational to serve as a backstop for beneficiaries who are unable to qualify for Medigap coverage.

Alaska Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)

Original Medicare doesn’t cover outpatient prescription drugs. However, Medicare beneficiaries can get prescription coverage via a Medicare Advantage plan, an employer-sponsored plan (offered by a current or former employer), or a stand-alone Part D plan. Medigap plans don’t cover prescription drugs unless they’re covered under Part B.

There are 66,287 Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska enrolled in stand-alone Part D plans and 652 enrolled in Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans. There are about 22 insurers offering standalone Part D plans in Alaska with premiums ranging from about $16 to $97 per month.

When deciding on a Part D plan, it’s important to evaluate several factors such as each plan’s premium, formulary, and copays since every plan is different. Learn how you can save money on your out-of-pocket costs with a Medicare Advantage, Part D, or Medigap plan, fill out this form or give us a call.

Local Medicare Health Plan Resources in Alaska

  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): Staffed by volunteers, SHIP provides seniors with one-on-one counseling to help them take full advantage of their benefits. Although not a source of eldercare funding, SHIPs are free, state counseling services that help seniors understand their Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap (Medicare Supplemental Insurance), and Medicaid benefits.
    Contact: Call 800-478-6065 or 907-269-3680 within Anchorage.

  • Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP): SMP provides counseling, education, and outreach to the state’s Medicare beneficiaries and their families to help them better understand their coverage, rights, and options. Contact: Call 907-269-3680.

  • You can also explore more information about the insurance industry in Alaska by visiting the state’s Department of Insurance website.

The licensed agents that are partnered with Timefor65 can help you compare the availability, benefits, and costs of Medicare plans in your specific region of Alaska. Our process makes it easier for you to access your Medicare eligibility in Alaska so that you receive personalized, affordable, and easy-to-use coverage options and solutions. Fill out the form or give us a call at (866) 327‑0148 anytime to get a free quote or to ask any questions.

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