Summary: You may have several options for Medicare in Alaska beyond Original Medicare. One choice might be adding a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to your Original Medicare. Another option may be getting a Medicare Supplement insurance plan.

Original Medicare in Alaska

The federally run health insurance program is called Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. Original Medicare is available in Alaska as in other states.

  • Medicare Part A provides hospital and hospice coverage. Part B covers doctor visits, medical equipment, and many preventive services.
  • For most people who have worked at least 10 years (40 quarters) and paid Medicare taxes, Part A is premium-free. Part B usually has a monthly premium.
  • Other costs for Medicare in Alaska may include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

When can you enroll in Medicare in Alaska?

Many people are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare in Alaska, while other people may need to sign up. This usually happens when they’re first eligible at age 65.

You’ll have a Medicare Initial Enrollment Period. This generally begins three months before you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months later. If you wait and sign up for Medicare after this time, you may have to pay late-enrollment penalties.

What if you’re still working at age 65 and have employer health insurance? Or what if you have coverage through your spouse? In these cases, you could delay enrolling in Part B and avoid paying a premium for benefits you don’t need.

  • Then, when you (or your spouse) retire, you may be able to sign up for Medicare Part B during a Special Enrollment Period.
  • You won’t have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up for Part B during this eight-month period and qualify for it.

You may qualify for Medicare in Alaska before age 65 if:

  • You’ve received Social Security Administration or certain Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least 24 straight months.
  • You have Lou Gehrig’s disease or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

You may have to pay a higher premium for Part A and Part B if:

  • You didn’t sign up when you were first eligible.
  • You didn’t have a Special Enrollment Period.

You can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B during the General Enrollment Period. This runs from January 1 to March 31 every year.

If you are not automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, you can sign up in the following ways:

  • Visit the Social Security website.
  • Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If you are a TTY user, you can dial 1-800-325-0778. Social Security can be reached Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
  • Visit a local Social Security office. Find Social Security offices in Alaska here.

If you worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board to sign up for your Medicare benefits at 1-877-772-5772. You can call Monday through Friday, from 9AM to 3:30PM. TTY users can call 1-312-751-4701.

Medicare in Alaska Plan Options

In most U.S. states, there are usually three types of Medicare plan options:

  • Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage)
  • Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance
  • Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C)*

*Most kinds of Medicare Advantage plans aren’t available in Alaska.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance plans may help pay for some of your out-of-pocket costs under Original Medicare. This includes cost-sharing expenses and emergency overseas travel coverage.

You can only use Medicare Supplement insurance plans to help with Original Medicare costs. You’ll need to stay enrolled in Part A and Part B for your hospital and medical coverage.

These plans don’t include prescription drug coverage. If you want help with your medication costs, you might enroll in a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan.

Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) is another option in Alaska. You can enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan after you have Part A or Part B.

  • Part D plans are available from private insurance companies that contract with Medicare.
  • Part D coverage works alongside your Original Medicare benefits. This may help to pay for prescription medications.

Each Medicare Part D plan has its own formulary. This is a list of covered drugs and what your cost-sharing would be. The plan may change its list each year or at any time. You will receive notice from your plan when necessary.

To get a better overview of Medicare in Alaska, see:

To learn more about Medicare in Alaska, you can refer to state resources such as:

  • State of Alaska Medicare Information Office – Provides personal counseling on how to use the Medicare program. Also has information on how to avoid and report Medicare errors and fraud.
  • State of Alaska Medicaid Program – Provides financial help with medical services for qualifying low-income citizens of the state. This includes those who may need institutional-level care.

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.

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