Medicare Plans in Alaska in 2022
Your Medicare options in Alaska can vary depending on your age, where you live, and more. There are a number of Medicare plans in Alaska which offer broader coverage than Original Medicare or can help to fill in the gaps left over by Medicare Part A and Part B.
Starting in 2022, Medicare Advantage MSA plans will be offered in Alaska. And if Alaska residents want additional coverage on top of the benefits offered through Original Medicare, they also have the choice to enroll in a Medigap and/or Part D drug plan.
How To Apply for Medicare in Alaska
If you are an Alaska resident who is only interested in enrolling in Original Medicare, you can do so through your local Social Security office. You can sign up in-person, online, or over the phone as early as three months before your 65th birthday. The team at Medicare Plans Direct can also walk you through the steps to enroll.
However, the Social Security Administration does not help you to enroll in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Part D prescription drug coverage. If you are interested in enrolling in any of these plans, you should contact a licensed insurance agent who can walk you through the process and help you find the right plan for you.
Reach out to an experienced insurance agent here at Medicare Plans Direct today to have all of your Medicare-related questions answered.
Medicare Supplement Plans in Alaska
Which Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are available to you in Alaska depends on a number of factors, such as your age, which insurance company you enroll with, when you enroll, where you reside, and more.
Medigap coverage is common among Alaska residents, with 17,064 Alaska residents enrolling in Medicare Supplement Insurance in 2019. This represented almost a fifth (18.3 %) of all of the state’s Medicare enrollees that year.
Medicare insurance companies in Alaska can offer the following Medigap plans: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N. High-deductible versions of Plan F and Plan G are also available.
In 2019, Plan F was by far the most popular Medicare Supplement plan in Alaska, with almost ⅔ of all Medigap enrollees choosing this policy. Other popular options included Plans G and N.
Be aware that beneficiaries who first became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020 are no longer allowed to enroll in Plan F, though Plans G and N are good alternatives.
Medigap in Alaska for Disability Enrollees
When it comes to Alaska beneficiaries who qualify for Medicare because they suffer from a disability, the state offers no protections to guarantee them Medigap coverage.
As of 2021, there was one insurance company in Alaska that sold Medigap plans to beneficiaries under the age of 65. However, insurance companies are permitted to charge these individuals significantly higher monthly premiums. And in 2021, Medigap beneficiaries under the age of 65 were only offered the option to enroll in Plan B or High Deductible Plan F.
However, the Alaska Comprehensive Health Insurance Association (ACHIA) offers Medicare disability beneficiaries the option to enroll in its high-risk pool.
Many high-risk pools disappeared after the Affordable Care Act eliminated medical underwriting in the private insurance market. Alaska, along with a handful of other states, has maintained their pool to provide coverage options to Medicare beneficiaries who qualify because of a disability.
For example, ACHIA offers Medicare beneficiaries under the age of 65 a “Medicare carve-out” plan which comes with a $1,000 deductible and serves as an alternative to traditional Medigap insurance.
Medigap Enrollment in Alaska
If you are interested in enrolling in Medigap insurance in Alaska, the best time to do so is during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
This occurs when you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B, and it lasts for 6 months. During this time, you can enroll in any Medigap plan offered in your area regardless of your health history.
Unless you qualify for a guaranteed issue right, you may have to undergo medical underwriting if you want to sign up for a Medigap plan after your OEP finalizes. In this case, insurance companies reserve the right to deny you coverage and/or charge you a higher monthly premium.
Some examples of guaranteed issue rights in Alaska include moving out of your Medicare Advantage plan’s coverage area, losing your employer coverage, or retiree plan benefit changes.
Beneficiaries under the age of 65 who qualify for Medicare because of a disability are not granted any Medigap protections in Alaska. They can try to enroll in Medicare Supplement Insurance during their 6 month Medigap OEP, but insurance companies are not required to provide them coverage.
People who enroll in Medicare before they turn 65 will have another OEP during the six months following their 65th birthday. When this happens, they are allowed to enroll in any Medigap plan offered in their area without having to undergo medical underwriting.
Medigap Premiums in Alaska
What your Alaska Medigap premium costs you will depend on a number of factors. Your gender, age, ZIP code, smoking status, and when you enroll can all affect how much you end up paying a month for your Medigap coverage.
All of your coverage details can have a significant impact on how much you end up paying for your Medicare Supplement Insurance coverage. That’s why we recommend consulting with a licensed insurance agent before deciding on a Medigap plan.
Medicare Advantage Plans in Alaska
As of 2022, Alaska Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to join a Medicare Advantage MSA plan. Alaska residents can enroll in an MSA plan starting on October 1, 2021, though enrollment won’t become effective until January 1, 2022. Until the new plans were announced on October 1st, 2021 there had previously been no Medicare Advantage plans available to Alaskans.
So what kind of Part C coverage will Alaskans be able to receive? MSA plans are a unique type of Medicare Advantage plan. They have two parts: a high deductible health plan and a medical savings account.
With an MSA, you have to cover the costs of your health care expenses until you reach your plan’s deductible amount. How high or low your deductible is depends on the insurance company that you enroll with and which plan you choose.
The good news is that MSA enrollees don’t typically end up having to pay for the full amount of their deductible out-of-pocket. That’s because you can use the money that your MSA plan deposits into your medical savings account each year to pay for qualifying expenses which count towards your deductible.
With MSA plans, the amount that is deposited into your medical savings account can cover up to 40% of your deductible amount. Plus, if you don’t use all of the money that your plan deposits in your account at the beginning of the year, it remains in your account and will roll over to the next year.
And while MSA enrollees don’t have to pay a monthly premium for their Medicare Advantage coverage, they will still be responsible for paying their Part B premium.
It is also important to be aware that MSA plans don’t have a network of providers like some other Medicare Advantage plans do. And physicians, even ones that accept Medicare, are not required to treat MSA plan enrollees. But doctors receive the same amount when they treat someone with an MSA as they would when treating someone with any other type of Medicare Advantage plan, which is something that you should make your provider aware of.
Finally, MSA plans do not come with prescription drug coverage. So people who enroll in an MSA plan will have to sign up for a separate Part D plan if they want help paying for their prescription medications. Now let’s get into the specifics of Part D drug plans.
Medicare Part D in Alaska
Another thing for Alaska Medicare beneficiaries to keep in mind is their Part D prescription drug plan coverage options. There are 20 stand-alone Medicare drug plans available to Alaska Medicare enrollees in 2022.
The cost of Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums varies depending on where you live and which insurance company you purchase your plan through. The lowest Part D premium in Alaska in 2022 is $7.30.
You can also find Medicare prescription drug plans with $0 deductibles, though these plans’ monthly premiums tend to be higher. In 2022, there are three $0 deductible plans available to Alaska residents, the most affordable of which has a monthly premium of $68.90.
It is important that you enroll in prescription drug coverage when you are first eligible if you foresee it being necessary in the future. If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part D when you are first eligible and don’t have some other form of creditable drug coverage, you could face late enrollment penalty fees in the future.
Remember, Medicare Advantage MSA plans, which is the only type of Part C plan that is offered in Alaska, do not come with drug coverage. So the only way to get prescription medication coverage in the state is by signing up for a stand-alone Part D drug plan. You can do so whether you are just enrolled in Original Medicare or if you sign up for an MSA or Medigap plan as well.
As you can see, your Medicare coverage options depend on a number of factors, one of the most important ones being where you live. That’s where we come in. Our expertise can help you to make the best possible Medicare decisions for you, so reach out today to speak with a licensed insurance agent, free of charge to you.