Medicare in Alaska
Written by: Bryan Strickland
Reviewed by: Stephanie Demus, Licensed Insurance Agent
Medicare in Alaska is mostly like Medicare in the 48 contiguous states, with eligibility starting at age 65 outside of a few exceptions.
Alaska offers several cost-savings programs for residents facing financial needs and for anyone on Medicare looking to control costs related to prescriptions and out-of-pocket expenditures like copays and coinsurance .
In 2022, a couple of Medicare Advantage plans are available in Alaska.
Alaskans can hop in the car and drive to the continental United States. Just make sure your car seat is a comfortable one.
It’s more than a 2,000-mile drive from Alaska to Seattle in the northwest corner of the lower 48. Much like the typical journey into the world of Medicare, the endeavor can be daunting.
GoHealth is here to straighten out the learning curve and put you in the driver’s seat.
Find a local Medicare plan that fits your needs
Does Medicare Cover You in Alaska?
Since 1965, Medicare has provided affordable healthcare coverage to older Americans, and that certainly includes Alaskans. If you enroll in Medicare in Alaska, you can use your benefits with any provider in the United States that accepts Medicare, which is most.
While Medicare doesn’t typically cover you outside of the U.S., if you’re an Alaskan traveling between your home state and the continental U.S. via Canada, you are covered if a medical emergency arises in transit. The same applies to residents of the continental U.S. traveling to Alaska via Canada.
How do I Apply for Medicare in Alaska?
You are eligible to get Medicare in AK if you’re a U.S. citizen age 65 or older. Regardless of your age, you can enroll in Medicare if you have end-stage renal disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease or have received Social Security Disability Insurance payments or Railroad Board benefits payments for 24 months.
Your first chance to enroll is during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Your IEP is a seven-month period that begins three months before the month you turn 65.
- You can enroll online with the Social Security Administration.
- You can enroll via phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778).
- You can enroll by visiting a local Social Security office.
You have the option of enrolling in Part A of Original Medicare (which covers a portion of your hospital-related expenses), Part B (which covers an amount of your other medical expenses), medically necessary services like doctors services and tests, outpatient care, home health services, durable medical equipment and other medical services. Part B also covers some preventive services.
If you enroll in both Parts A and B, you have the option to add Part D to cover a portion of your prescription expenses. You may also choose to add Medigap, which is supplemental coverage that helps fill in the gaps in out-of-pocket costs like copays and coinsurance.
Private insurance companies administer part D and Medigap under rules set by the federal Medicare program.
Are you eligible for cost-saving Medicare subsidies?
Does Alaska Have Free Healthcare?
Medicare beneficiaries who have paid employment-related taxes for at least 10 years don’t have to pay a monthly premium for Part A of Original Medicare. However, the coverage is not “free” because of the deductibles, copays, and coinsurance responsibilities associated with Medicare plans in Alaska.
If you need free or low-cost health insurance because of your financial situation, some people on Medicare in Alaska can save through a Medicare Savings Program. In contrast, some facing severe needs may qualify for Medicaid. In Alaska, the Medicaid program is called DenaliCare, and the state sets specific income limits on an annual basis for an array of situations. The state provides a tool to give Alaskans an idea about whether they qualify, but an accurate determination can only be made by applying.
Is Medicare the Same in All 50 States?
Because Medicare is a federal insurance program, the core elements of Medicare are the same in each state, but there are some exceptions.
- Some people on Medicare in Alaska also will qualify for Medicaid based on financial need. While the two programs, both started in 1965, have a lot in common, Medicaid standards can be set on the state level, creating differences between Alaska and other states.
- You have the option to add Part D drug coverage or Medigap supplemental coverage to Original Medicare in Alaska. Under the federal Medicare program’s guidance, private insurance companies offer these products at different costs in different states. The Alaska Department of Health and Human Services provides a snapshot of Part D and Medigap in your state.
A GoHealth licensed insurance agent can help you find a Part D policy or Medigap policy to meet your needs.
What extra benefits and savings do you qualify for?
Are there Medicare Advantage Plans in Alaska?
In 2022, 99 percent of Alaskans had access to a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Advantage bundles the hospital and medical coverage from Parts A and B of Original Medicare and some plans also include Part D drug coverage. Medicare Advantage also offers dental, hearing and vision coverage and many plans include a monthly stipend for purchasing over-the-counter supplies.
Medicare in Alaska by the Numbers
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Table reflects the latest Beneficiary Demographics Data: Medicare Geographic Variation – by National, State & County
Average HCC Score: The Hierarchical Condition Category score gauges a population’s overall health. The score is based on a value of 1.0. Populations with an HCC score of less than 1.0 are considered relatively healthy. The score can be used to estimate health costs.
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Alaska Medicare Resources & Contacts
Beneficiaries spend an average of $9,456.80 each year on Medicare in Alaska. To be certain you are not leaving anything on the table, let us help. A GoHealth licensed insurance agent can assess your coverage or explain which Alaska-based resources, like these, may be able to help:
Medicare Learning Guides
Healthcare is personal. So is choosing insurance. If you are new to Medicare, a beneficiary researching options, or a caregiver, we have tailored Medicare Guides for you.
Before 65 Guide
Understanding health insurance before age 65, especially when considering early retirement
Medicare Plans Guide
Costs, coverage and enrollment details for each Medicare plan
Medicare Beneficiary Guide
For those currently enrolled in Medicare
Low Income and Medicare Guide
For individuals with a qualifying income status
A Caregiver’s Guide
For individuals with a qualifying income status