Understand Medicare in Alaska
Medicare, the United States federal medical insurance program, provides coverage for more than 100,000 people in Alaska who qualify for Medicare. You can get Medicare if you’re 65 or older or have a qualifying disability.
Your disability typically qualifies if you’ve received at least 24 Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) disability insurance payments. You can also enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans if you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Most people have premium-free Part A but, if you have to buy it, the cost can reach up to $506per month in 2023. Part B costs $164.90 per month but can be more if you have higher income. There are 2 Medicare Advantage Plans in the state that are an alternative to Original Medicare. Learn more about your Medicare options in Alaska.
Medicare Plans in Alaska
|Compare ratings of Alaska’s Medicare plan providers:|
|Insurance company||Medicare rating||A.M. Best rating||BBB rating||J.D. Power ranking|
|Aetna||4 stars||A||A+||6th out of 9|
|Cigna||4 stars||A-||Not rated||8th out of 9|
|Humana||4 stars||A-||A+||2nd out of 9|
|UnitedHealthcare||3.5 stars||A-||A-||4th out of 9|
Medicare Plan Options in Alaska
Residents of Alaska have just two Medicare plans to choose from. Seniors and individuals with disabilities who don’t need much coverage can apply for Original Medicare. Alaska’s Medicare Advantage program might be a better option if you need more comprehensive insurance. Some Medicare policies offer additional prescription drug add-ons or supplementary coverage.
|Original Medicare (Parts A and B)||Original Medicare is the basic Medicare plan, which is a fee-for-service form of insurance. It has two parts: Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance. Part A covers hospital stays and periods spent at skilled nursing facilities, lab tests an individual has performed, and hospice care. Part B covers doctor’s office visits and home health care services. It may also cover some preventive care, such as screenings for cancers and mental illnesses, including depression. With Original Medicare, you’ll pay a deductible along with your share of the fees incurred during an inpatient or outpatient visit:
|Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)||Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, are an alternative to Original Medicare offered by private insurance companies. These plans include both Part A and Part B coverage, except for hospice care. Most services are provided by network providers, and you may need primary care physicians, referrals for specialists, and prior authorizations for treatment and medications. Medicare Advantage offers additional coverage for essential needs, such as prescription drugs, dental and vision care. Some Medicare Advantage Plans also cover gym memberships and transportation to and from medical appointments. Part C may also pay for adult day care services:
|Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plans (Part D)||Many Medicare Advantage policies add Part D drug coverage automatically to their package, but you can also add Medicare prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare. Medicare prescription drug coverage is offered to all Medicare enrollees, but you may have to pay a penalty if you wait to enroll after being initially eligible. Medicare Part D plans may not all cover the same drugs or have the same costs as Medicare Advantage policies. Standalone Part D coverage is provided by Medicare-approved private insurers. Most plans require a deductible and a copay for each prescription drug:
|Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans (Medigap)||Some Alaska seniors purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy, also known as Medigap. These plans are intended to fill in the gaps Original Medicare doesn’t cover. Some of these gaps include medical coverage while overseas, Part A and Part B copays, and excess Part B charges. Medigap doesn’t pay for anything related to Medicare Advantage. You cannot have a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage Plan at the same time.
Medicare in Alaska by the Numbers
|People enrolled in Original Medicare||Average plan cost||Annual state spending per beneficiary||Spending per beneficiary compared to the national average|
|102,635||Plan A: $0 to $506 per month*
Plan B: $164.90 per month**
*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 Alaska
Medicare decisions can be challenging for seniors and their caregivers. Being able to consult with professionals for guidance can help ease some of the stress. There are several Alaska medicare resources and senior support groups that offer programs and education related to helping families with aging issues. Here are a couple to start with.
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Commission on Aging
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Commision on Aging aims to promote the dignity and independence of senior residents. The Commission offers educational resources and advocacy, and collaborates with other agencies.
Contact information: Website | (907) 465-1398
Aging and Disability Resource Center
The Municipality of Anchorage’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) offers trained and certified Resource Specialists to help seniors navigate programs and services and field questions.
Contact information: Website | (907) 343-7770