Medicare enrollment in Alaska stands at about 105,000 residents – only about 14% of the population, as opposed to 19% nationwide. Only 16% of Alaska’s population consists of persons over 65 years old (among lower rates in America). The federal government sponsors and funds Medicare, but Alaska’s state government can offer assistance to state residents regarding Medicare.
Alaska Medicare Insurance Trends
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported the following information on 2021 Medicare trends in Alaska:
- A total of 104,734 residents of Alaska are enrolled in Medicare.
- There are no Medicare Advantage plans available in Alaska.
- There are 11 different Medigap plans in Alaska.
- There are 9 stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans.
- 32% of those with stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans get Extra Help (also called the low-income subsidy).
Medicare Offered in Alaska
Medicare is a government health care program that offers financial assistance to those 65 or older and people of any age with specific disabilities.
Original Medicare offers health insurance coverage to individuals who qualify, with Medicare Part A covering inpatient care and other hospital services. Medicare Part B focuses on providing insurance coverage for treatment options and medical supplies deemed medically necessary.
There are currently no individual Medicare Advantage plans for sale in Alaska. Because of this, a large majority of Alaskans receive their coverage through Original Medicare. CMS reported that as of September 2020, 1,665 Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska had either Medicare Advantage or other private coverage.
While individual Medicare Advantage is not obtainable in Alaska, employers can offer employer-sponsored retiree Medicare Advantage plans. These are known as Medicare Advantage Employer Group Waiver Plans.
Medicare Supplement Plans
As a Medicare beneficiary, you have the option of purchasing a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan, which you may combine with the Medicare Parts A and B coverage.
The coverage is for the costs of coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments which can still be quite expensive for Medicare beneficiaries. The supplemental plan can also offer more benefits and cover more medical services not included in Part A or Part B of Medicare.
Some companies offering Medigap plans in Alaska include:
- AARP – UnitedHealthcare
- Mutual of Omaha
- Premera BlueCross BlueShield of Alaska
- State Farm
These plans will generally require a premium, although these premiums may depend on the health insurance carrier offering the plans.
While many states have adopted rules to ensure Medigap access for those Medicare enrollees under 65, Alaska is not one. United American Insurance Company is the only Medigap insurer in Alaska that offers this type of Medigap, with significantly higher prices compared to plans for those over 65.
However, Alaska has kept its high-risk pool (the Alaska Comprehensive Health Insurance Association) operational. The pool assists those under 65 in need of coverage to supplement Medicare.
Alaska Medicare Enrollment
Alaskans are eligible for Medicare if they are U.S. citizens and above 65 years old, or are under 65 but are permanently disabled, have end-stage renal disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Use Medicare’s online eligibility tool if you are unsure if you qualify.
- You are 65 or older, and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters.
- You are under age 65 and collect benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 consecutive months.
- You have ESRD or ALS.
Enrollment Period Dates
Initial Enrollment Period
This is a seven-month window that allows you to sign up for a plan
- Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
- Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
Medicare Open Enrollment Period
This is when you can sign up for a plan, switch a plan or leave a plan
- Begins Starts October 15th
- Ends December 7th
Special Enrollment Period
Special enrollment periods allow you to enroll outside the regular enrollment periods under specific circumstances.
General Enrollment Period
This is when you can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B if you didn’t sign up when first eligible or if you’re not qualified for a Special Enrollment Period.
- Starts January 1st
- Ends March 31st
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
This is when you can switch or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Starts January 1st
- Ends March 31st
Alaska Enrollment Tips & Advice
Some Medicare beneficiaries may find it challenging to cover the expenses associated with Medicare Part A and Part B. Alaska, however, offers Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) with certain levels of assistance to cover part of the costs of Medicare. The level of assistance you receive will depend greatly on your income situation.
How Do I Enroll in a Medicare Plan?
If you have any questions about Alaska Medicare and your eligibility for supplement or advantage plans, speak to one of our licensed agents today. Our agents will discuss your Medicare options and help find a plan that works for you.