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How Do Medicare Advantage Plans Work in Alaska?
Figuring out Medicare, a federally administered program, should be easier than a trek up Denali, right? Yes, and in fact, the journey gets easier. Medicare offers health coverage for Alaska residents 65 years of age and older and those with disabilities at a younger age. While figuring out Medicare is not a task many anticipate tackling before their 65th birthday, it’s good to know there are options for healthcare coverage in the form of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that many Alaskans might not yet be aware of.
Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, allow Alaska residents to receive insurance used for hospitalization (Medicare Part A) and/or insurance for medical visits and doctor’s office (Medicare Part B). These MA plans are sold by private insurance companies and offer at least the same level of coverage as Medicare Parts A and B. They are approved by Medicare and replace coverage by Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
Many people select a Medicare Advantage plan because of the additional benefits included. Alaska residents desiring coverage for dental, vision and hearing coverage as well as other routine medical services should consider a Medicare Advantage Plan as these types of benefits are typically included.
Wondering If You’re Eligible for a Medicare Advantage Plan in Alaska?
You are eligible for a MA plan if you’re eligible for Medicare Parts A and B in Alaska assuming you reside in an area where Medicare Advantage plans are sold. These plans may differ from county to county and in different zip codes. Knowing medical needs can increase with age, a Medicare Advantage plan specific to Alaska residents may be a smart way to save money considering many Medicare Advantage plans have $0 monthly premiums. Your coinsurance, copayments and deductibles will vary depending upon the Medicare Advantage plan in which you enroll.
Alaska residents cannot be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan at the same time. A Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (Medigap) helps cover some of the gaps in coverage: the copayments, coinsurance and deductibles that aren’t covered by Medicare Parts A and B.
What’s the Prescription Drug Coverage for Medicare Advantage Plans in Alaska?
Any resident of The Last Frontier looking for prescription drug coverage should consider a Medicare Part C plan as most Medicare Advantage plans also include a Medicare Prescription Drug plan. A Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage is called a MAPD and provides coverage for prescription drug costs. Enrollment in MAPD can protect Alaska consumers from higher prescription costs.
Most Popular Medicare Advantage Plans in Alaska
Finding the right Medicare Advantage plan in Alaska is as unique as the person the plan is supporting. Among Alaska residents, the majority choose a local PPO with 94% of MA enrollees selecting this type of Medicare plan coverage. As reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS.gov), approximately 6% of Alaska MA enrollees choose an HMO/HMOPOS. Knowing how much Medicare plan coverage you need will help determine the right Medicare Advantage Plan in Alaska for you.
You can become more informed about Medicare Advantage plans available in Alaska by contacting a SelectQuote licensed sales agent who can guide you through the Medicare maze. Acting as your advocate, our licensed sales agents help you weigh the Medicare Advantage plan options in your area, understand costs and answer questions throughout the process. SelectQuote individually shops more than 20 national insurance companies to find a plan that meets your needs and budget.
When is the Alaska Medicare Advantage Plan Enrollment Period?
Enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Plan occurs during specified enrollment periods. Medicare Enrollment in Alaska opens for residents prior to turning age 65 or earlier in special disability cases. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) runs for seven months.
IEP begins three months before turning age 65, including the birthday month, and ends 3 months after the birthday month. It is also the time allotted for enrollment in Medicare Parts A, B, C and D. For example, if you’re an Alaskan with a June birthday, your IEP runs from March through September.
You may also enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which occurs annually each fall. Medicare’s AEP runs from October 15 through December 7 each year. The key dates for AEP are as follows:
Oct. 15 – Annual Enrollment Period Begins
Dec. 7 – Annual Enrollment Period Ends
Jan. 1 – First Date Coverage can start
During the Annual Enrollment every year, Alaska residents can:
- Switch from Medicare Parts A and B (Original Medicare) to a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan
- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
- Switch from one Prescription Drug (Part D) plan to another
- Add a Prescription Drug (Part D) plan if you didn’t enroll when first eligible for Medicare
In addition to AEP, Alaska residents who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can make a one-time plan change during the Open Enrollment (OEP) period, which occurs each year from January 1 through March 31. There are also Medicare Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) you may be able to enroll in Medicare or make changes to your existing Medicare Advantage coverage because of certain events and life changes, such as moving or losing employer coverage.
Is an Alaska Medicare Advantage Plan Right for You?
SelectQuote can help ensure you are getting all the available benefits you deserve while staying up to date with the annual updates to Medicare plans made by insurance companies. As a trusted third-party company that specializes in helping consumers understand Medicare insurance options, SelectQuote is here to help Alaska residents find the right Medicare Advantage Plan to meet your needs.
To ensure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to receive, call or complete your online form today. Let SelectQuote’s personal licensed sales agents simplify the Medicare maze by comparing rates and independently shopping insurance companies to help you find an affordable option that meets your unique needs.