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Medicare in Alaska: What's Covered, Who Qualifies, and More

March 9, 2022

Medicare in Alaska: What's Covered, Who Qualifies, and More

For many people, [Medicare eligibility[( is critical to ensuring that they have the health insurance they need as they age and their health needs change, or when they have a qualifying disability that allows them to receive Medicare coverage earlier. Do you have questions about Medicare coverage and availability in Alaska? We can help you find out more about the plan that's right for you.

Does Alaska Have Medicare?

Like all other states, Alaska does have Medicare coverage. In Alaska, as in other states, beneficiaries must carefully consider what coverage they need in order to determine what plan will best fit their needs as they use Medicare to cover the cost of doctor visits, prescription drugs, and more.

Alaska residents, however, may have some unique considerations when selecting a Medicare plan and ensuring that they have the coverage they need as they age. Whether you suffer from a disability that requires you to seek treatment from specific providers on a regular basis or you have reached the age of 65 and have age-related healthcare concerns, make sure you take those factors into consideration as you determine the right Medicare plan for your needs.

Who Qualifies for Medicare in Alaska?

Alaska, like all other states, lays out clear requirements for Medicare coverage. In order to qualify for Medicare coverage in Alaska, you must have lived in the country for at least five consecutive years. That time does not have to have been spent in Alaska, but cannot, for example, be split between Alaska and Canada as a permanent residence.

Medicare beneficiaries must either be over the age of 65 or have a qualifying disability that makes them eligible for Medicare. Qualifying disabilities may include end-stage kidney disease or Lou Gehrig's disease as well as many disabilities that may qualify you for Social Security Disability payments or Railroad Disability payments at a younger age.

When eligible individuals reach the age of 65, they are automatically eligible to enroll in Medicare. There is an enrollment period of three months before and after the individual's 65th birthday as well as an open enrollment period in December each year. Individuals who do not enroll in Medicare during open enrollment or during their eligibility periods may need to pay additional fees in order to get coverage. Learn more about the different Medicare enrollment periods.[

Does Medicare Cover You in Alaska?

Yes, Medicare covers beneficiaries in Alaska just as it does in the rest of the United States. However, Alaska residents should keep in mind the low availability of medical practitioners and make sure that the practitioners they need to see on a regular basis accept Medicare as payment for their services. In Alaska, the population is spread out further than throughout much of the rest of the country, and many areas may not have the same availability when it comes to choosing healthcare providers, making it critical that Alaska residents carefully consider practitioner availability when choosing a Medicare option.

Individuals traveling to Alaska who are worried about potential coverage may also want to look into whether the providers they are most likely to need are available in the area.

Is Medicare Advantage Available in Alaska?

Yes. Alaska, like other states, allows Medicare beneficiaries to choose between several key plans.

Original Medicare Coverage

Original Medicare coverage, often designated Part A and Part B, provides coverage for hospitalization and doctors' visits. It helps alleviate much of the burden seniors might feel when facing extensive medical procedures that may require hospitalization as well as many of the problems seniors or disabled individuals may face with medical care when their overall health declines. Original Medicare coverage is accepted by many medical practitioners, but not all.

Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug) Coverage

Original Medicare provides coverage for many of the medical care expenses the average individual might face, including both hospitalization and the cost of treatment by physicians, but it typically does not offer coverage for medication. Qualifying individuals will need to choose Medicare Part D coverage in order to receive coverage for their medications. Medicare Part D coverage can prove critical for individuals with known conditions who need ongoing medications in order to manage that treatment or for individuals who require acute care through medication on a regular basis.

Medicare Advantage Coverage

Medicare Advantage coverage, unlike Original Medicare, is through the same insurers that cover private individuals. An Advantage plan must offer at least the same amount of coverage as Original Medicare. Often, practices that do not accept Original Medicare coverage will accept Medicare Advantage, since it is negotiated through the same platform as the private insurer that provides the Medicare Advantage coverage. Medicare Advantage may also have additional coverage options for vision and dental care, which can prove incredibly beneficial for some users. There are more than 15,000 Alaska residents enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Which Medicare Plan in Alaska is the Best?

Choosing a Medicare plan is a highly personal decision for each user. Before choosing a Medicare plan in Alaska, make sure you consider the critical elements that will determine which plan will best fit your needs.

**Do you need a plan that provides coverage for a specific provider? **

If you have a provider that you already see on a regular basis, whether a general practice doctor with whom you have a good relationship or a specialist who handles a known condition with which you have been diagnosed, you need to make sure that your Medicare plan will offer coverage for that doctor or medical care provider. You can check with your provider to see what Medicare Advantage plans they accept or what private insurers they work with in order to be sure that you're choosing the right Medicare Advantage plan for your needs.

What type of coverage do you want your Medicare plan to provide?

Carefully review your options when choosing a Medicare plan so you can be sure to choose the right plan for your needs. Do you need vision coverage? Do you want to make sure that you have dental coverage, particularly since, as you age, your dental health may also deteriorate? Choosing a Medicare plan that offers the right type of coverage can prove critical to your needs. You may also want to evaluate your prescription drug coverage when selecting a Medicare plan: while some Medicare Advantage plans may offer prescription drug coverage alongside their other benefits, if you choose Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan that does not offer that coverage, you may need to opt for Medicare Part D coverage in addition to your other options.

If you choose an Original Medicare plan, you may want to look into vision and dental insurance from another source so that you can ensure that you have coverage for those vital needs.

How much coverage do you need your plan to provide?

Take a careful look at your Medicare coverage, especially if you're looking at a Medicare Advantage plan. Make sure that it covers the level of treatment you need and that you will not have to worry about your out-of-pocket costs. Evaluate your copay amounts: how much will you have to pay for each kind of treatment? What about any deductible costs? Make sure you compare those costs to your anticipated medical costs and your budget. Consider any ongoing medical costs you may face as well as the amounts you could potentially have to pay in the event of a medical emergency.

Contact Us to Learn More About Medicare in Alaska

Choosing the right Medicare plan for your needs can feel incredibly complicated, especially if you have serious concerns about your coverage or you're selecting Medicare coverage for the first time. We can help you choose the right plan for you. Contact us today to compare plans and learn more about Medicare coverage in Alaska.

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