Medicare Plan Options

When you’re considering your Medicare options in Alabama, you have a number of choices. If your health care needs are minimal, Original Medicare may be your best option. If your health situation is more complicated, plans available through the Alabama Medicare Advantage program may offer you prescription drug coverage and other benefits. If you want extra coverage to supplement Original Medicare, a Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan may be the right choice. You can also add a Part D prescription drug plan to Original Medicare and some types of Medicare Advantage Plans.

Original Medicare

This is the basic Medicare plan available to those aged 65 and older and younger individuals who qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Original Medicare consists of Parts A and B, each of which provides specific health care coverage. Part A covers home health care, hospitalization, hospice, and nursing home care. Part B covers doctor’s visits, mental health care, ambulance services, clinical research, durable medical equipment, and some preventative screenings. In addition to monthly premiums, Original Medicare fees include a yearly deductible and copays for services.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage Plans come in four types: HMOs, PPOs, PFFSs and SNPs. You can only select a Medicare Advantage Plan that’s available in your area. Along with original Medicare’s Parts A and B coverage, these plans may also offer coverage for vision and hearing care, dental visits, fitness programs and other benefits. Some plans may include prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans have different premiums and fee structures than Original Medicare.

Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plans

While Original Medicare doesn’t include prescription drug coverage, you can supplement it with a Part D plan. The costs you pay with a prescription drug plan can include a monthly premium, annual deductible, and copays for prescriptions. Many Medicare Advantage Plans include prescription drug coverage, but not all. If you don’t select a Part D plan during your initial enrollment, or don’t get coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may have to pay a penalty if you want to add Part D coverage later.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

A Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan can be added to your Original Medicare to help minimize your out-of-pocket medical costs. These plans are also known as Medigap and they’re designed to fill in the gaps in your Original Medicare coverage. The plans cover copays for Parts A and B, as well as any excess Part B charges. If you want medical coverage when you travel outside the United States, many Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans provide it. You can’t add a Medigap policy if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Medicare in Alabama by the Numbers

People enrolled in Original Medicare  Average plan cost Annual state spending per beneficiary Spending per beneficiary compared to the national average
569,907 Plan A: $0 to $471 per month*
 
Plan B: $148.50 per month**
$10,731 6%

*Most people pay no premium, but this can vary depending on how long they paid Medicare taxes.
**This is the average number, but it can vary based on income.

Medicare Resources in Alabama

When it comes time compare your Medicare options, getting expert help can make it easier. There are a number of agencies in Alabama that can provide you with free, unbiased counseling to help you understand the available Medicare plans, your potential out-of-pocket costs, and what coverage best suits your budget and health care needs.

Alabama Area Agencies on Aging

The 13 AAAs located throughout Alabama connect seniors with resources and services that help maintain their independence and quality of life. These agencies administer programs in their local communities and support other organizations and activities. At your local AAA, you can get one-on-one counseling about your Medicare options. Trained counselors can also advise you about available programs that may help lower your out-of-pocket health care costs.

Contact Information: Website | 800-243-5463

State Health Insurance Assistance Program

Seniors in Alabama who need help and guidance on selecting the best Medicare option for their needs can turn to the counselors of the SHIP program. These trained volunteers can provide free, unbiased advice about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance. SHIP counselors can also assist you with Medicare claims and appeals. You can contact a SHIP counselor through your local AAA or the Aging & Disability Resource Center’s Ageline.

Contact Information: Website | 800-243-5463

Alabama Senior Medicare Patrol

The Alabama SMP program exists to educate Medicare-eligible seniors about how to detect and prevent fraud, abuse or errors. The program’s trained volunteers can help you address concerns about possible fraud or Medicare abuse by telemarketers, health care providers, medical equipment suppliers, and others. They can also help you sort out possible errors on your Medicare statements and related medical bills.

Contact Information: Website | 800-243-5463

Learn More from Our Sources