Medicare in Alaska
This article was updated on: 09/16/2018
Medicare.com can be your resource while you shop for a Medicare plan in Alaska. Our site includes a plan comparison tool that lets you browse plans in your area. If you’re looking for a Medicare plan that best suits your needs, we’re here to help.
About Medicare in Alaska
Alaska is the only state where Medicare Advantage plans are not currently available. Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska can enroll in the federal program and receive their benefits through Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, and add prescription drug coverage through a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Original Medicare beneficiaries may also have the option to enroll in Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance.
Types of Medicare coverage in Alaska
Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, is the federal part of the Medicare program. Part A generally covers inpatient hospital care while Part B covers medically necessary and preventive services like doctor visits, outpatient services, and certain durable medical equipment.
Medicare Advantage plans, or Medicare Part C, are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must cover the same services as Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. Some may offer additional benefits like routine dental, vision, prescription drugs, or wellness programs. Medicare Advantage plans are not available in Alaska.
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans provide drug coverage to Medicare beneficiaries with Original Medicare. These plans are offered through private insurance companies approved by Medicare, so costs and coverage details can vary. These plans work alongside Medicare Part A and/or Part B insurance.
Medicare Supplement plans are sold by private insurance companies in Alaska. There are up to 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans available, each with a letter designation (A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, or N). Plan benefits of each letter are the same no matter which insurance company sells it (for example, every Plan B has the same benefits), but prices may be different.
Local resources for Medicare in Alaska
- Medicare Savings Programs in Alaska: Beneficiaries with limited income or resources may be eligible for help with paying for Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance. To qualify, your income must typically fall below limits that are set by the government. These limits can vary by state. Contact your state Medicaid department for more information.
- Alaska State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP): This program provides personal counseling to Alaska residents looking for more information about Medicare. Beneficiaries can also use SHIP to report complaints about a Medicare provider in Alaska. Click here to look up your state SHIP office.
How to apply for Medicare in Alaska
The process for enrolling in Medicare in Alaska is the same as it is in any other state. To qualify for Medicare, you must be either a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years. Residents can be automatically enrolled at age 65, provided they already receive retirement benefits through the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board before they turn 65. Disabled residents may be enrolled sooner if they receive Social Security disability benefits, or certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, for 24 consecutive months; they’ll be automatically enrolled in the 25th month of disability benefits.
You may also be eligible for Medicare, regardless of age, if you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or end-stage renal disease.
If you have to enroll manually, it can be done by visiting your local Social Security office (or applying online or over the phone) when you are first eligible for Medicare at age 65. You have a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B; this starts three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after you turn 65. To apply:
- Visit the Social Security website.
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, 7AM to 7PM.
- Apply in person at a local Social Security office. Visit SSA.gov to find the nearest location.
- If you worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users call 312-751-4701), Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM.
Failure to enroll in Medicare when you are first eligible means you could face a financial penalty for late enrollment if you decide to enroll in the program later on.
While you can’t enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan in Alaska, you may be considering additional coverage beyond Medicare Part A and Part B. I can help you find prescription drug coverage or a Medigap policy that fits your needs and your budget. To learn more about me, use the “View profile” link below to see my profile and learn why I enjoy helping Medicare beneficiaries. Feel free to let me know if you want to discuss anything with me by phone or email; the links for setting that up are below as well. You can scroll back up and click the Compare Plans button to look for plans yourself.