October 6, 2016
Medicare beneficiaries in Alabama may be able to decide on Medicare coverage beyond Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. Beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare might have access to private Medicare plan options, such as Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement insurance. These plans are described in greater detail below, although it is worth noting that plan availability, costs, and coverage details can vary.
Medicare Part A and Part B together are sometimes referred to as Original Medicare. This combination refers to the health insurance program created and administered by the federal government. Part A is hospital insurance, and Part B is medical insurance. Part B may cover doctor/physician services, preventive care, and durable medical equipment. Certain out-of-pocket costs, such as coinsurance and deductibles, may apply to Part A and Part B coverage. Original Medicare doesn’t typically cover your prescription medications but may cover them if administered during an impatient Medicare approved hospital stay.
Original Medicare is available to eligible beneficiaries in any state in the U.S., including Alabama. You may be enrolled automatically into the program at the age of 65, provided you’re receiving retirement benefits through either the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). Those who receive SSA disability benefits, or certain RRB disability benefits, for 24 consecutive months can enroll for Medicare before age 65. You may also qualify for Medicare before age 65 if you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
If you don’t get enrolled automatically, you can sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). For most people, this seven-month period begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after that. If you don’t sign up during the IEP, you can enroll during the annual General Enrollment Period (January 1 through March 31), but you might pay late-enrollment penalties the entire time you are enrolled.
If you delay enrollment in Medicare Part A or Part B–for example, if you’re over 65 and still working and covered by your employer’s plan–you might be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. This is a time when you can enroll in Part A or Part B without a penalty even though your IEP has passed.
Beneficiaries in Alabama can also apply for Medicare manually by visiting their local SSA office or by registering online. They can also do so over the phone:
Once enrollment is complete, the red, white, and blue Medicare card arrives in the mail approximately three months before coverage begins. A “Welcome to Medicare” packet arrives at the same time, detailing your coverage.
There are other types of Medicare insurance available to Alabama beneficiaries besides Original Medicare.
Before signing up for a Medicare plan, you may want to compare all available plans in your area to find one that may suit your needs.
Learn more about how Medicare plans work in Alabama, including:
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.