What You Need to Know
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans in Alaska provide extra coverage for costs not covered by Original Medicare.
A Medigap policy can help pay for out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles or copayments.
Medigap policies don’t include drug benefits, so you’ll need to purchase a separate Medicare Part D plan for prescription drug coverage.
Once you turn 65, you’re eligible for Medicare. The first step is to enroll in Medicare Part A and B, known as Original Medicare. This coverage helps pay for many of your medical expenses, but you’ll still have out-of-pocket costs.
A Medicare Supplement plan, or Medigap policy, can help pay for expenses not covered by Original Medicare. These plans provide additional coverage to Original Medicare and are offered by private insurance companies.
When Can You Enroll in Medigap?
You’ll need to enroll in Original Medicare before you can join a Medicare Supplement plan in Alaska. Once enrolled, you can sign up for a Medigap policy. Here’s when to sign up:
- Medigap Open Enrollment Period (OEP): You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan during the six months after you turn 65 and join Medicare Part B. Your OEP is the best time to join a Medigap policy in Alaska. Insurance companies can’t deny your application or charge you more based on preexisting conditions like diabetes or cancer. You’re likely to get the most plans at the best prices.1
- Outside Open Enrollment Period: If you miss your OEP, you can still join a Medicare Supplement plan in Alaska. Insurance companies will be able to charge a higher price or turn you down because of health issues.
- Guaranteed Issue: In certain situations, you’ll have a guaranteed issue right to purchase a Medigap policy outside of your OEP and insurance companies won’t be allowed to deny your application. You also won’t face higher premiums or have to go through a waiting period because of your health.2
- Special Enrollment Period: If you have a guaranteed issue right, you’ll be able to enroll in any Medicare Supplement Insurance plan outside of your OEP. Circumstances include:
- You get coverage from a group plan, like an employer, and the coverage is ending
- You have a Medicare Advantage plan and are moving out of the service area
- You want to switch back to Original Medicare within a year of joining a Medicare Advantage plan
You can sign up for a Medigap policy after enrolling in Original Medicare.
What Are the Most Popular Medicare Supplement Plans?
Medigap policies in Alaska provide additional coverage for over 16,000 Medicare beneficiaries. The most popular plan is Medigap Plan F with over 10,000 enrollees. Plans G and N have the next highest enrollment with over 1,000 people enrolled in each.3
- Plan F: Plan F pays for most of the costs of Medicare Part A hospital insurance, such as coverage for up to three pints of blood. It covers hospital and hospice care and coinsurance for skilled nursing facilities, as well as the Medicare Part A and B deductibles. It’s not available for people who became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020.
- Plan G: This plan is a common alternative if you’re not eligible for Plan F. You’ll get similar coverage, such as coinsurance for hospital and skilled nursing facility stays. However, this plan doesn’t cover your Medicare Part B deductible.
- Plan N: This plan helps pay for your Medicare Part A coinsurance and deductible. It’ll also cover Part B copayments, but not Medicare Part B excess charges or your Part B deductible.
Medicare Supplement letter plans are the same across companies, so you can more easily compare costs from different insurers.
How Do You Choose a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Medicare Supplement plans are standardized, so you can easily compare prices between insurance providers by getting quotes from different companies.
Remember to consider other needs as well, such as medication coverage. Medigap policies in Alaska don’t include coverage for prescription drugs, but you can purchase a Medicare Part D plan separately.
How Much Do Medigap Policies Cost?
There are three ratings insurance providers use to price Medicare Supplement plans in Alaska.
- Community-rated: All plan enrollees pay the same price.
- Issue-age-rated: Your premium cost is based on your age when you enroll and doesn’t increase as you age.
- Attained-age-rated: Premium amounts go up as you age.4
Enrollees in Anchorage, for example, could pay between $84 and $413 for Plan N. If you choose a high-deductible Plan G you’ll pay between $29 and $126, while premiums for a non-high-deductible Plan G range from $105 to $443. You’ll also have to cover the Medicare Part B premium ($148.50 per month for most Medicare beneficiaries in 2021).5
Who Sells Medicare Supplement Plans in Alaska?
Different insurance companies may be available based on your location. Some of the largest providers of Medigap policies in Alaska include:
- Premera BlueCross BlueShield of Alaska
- Moda Health
What If You Want to Change Your Medigap Policy?
If you want to switch Medicare Supplement Insurance plans in Alaska, you can apply for a new plan. Remember that insurance companies can deny your application or charge you more based on your health unless you have a guaranteed issue right. After joining a new plan, contact your old insurance company to cancel your existing coverage.
What Are Alternatives to Medicare Supplement?
The most popular alternative to Medigap policies are Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, or Medicare Part C. However, Alaska doesn’t currently offer MA plans for individuals. You may still have access to coverage through a group plan from a union or employer. Most MA plans include coverage for prescription drugs and use a provider network, such as an HMO or PPO.
What Are Medicare Resources in Alaska?
- Alaska Medicare Information Office (SHIP): The Alaska State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is run by the Alaska Medicare Information office. It provides free, unbiased advice to help you get started with Medicare and explore your coverage options.
- Alaska Division of Insurance: The state Division of Insurance provides resources to help protect insurance consumers, including Medicare members.
- Alaska Medicaid: If you have low income or a disability, you may be eligible for Medicaid, which helps provide free or low-cost medical coverage.
If a Medigap policy in Alaska is right for you, start comparing plans before you turn 65. This way, you’ll be ready to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan when your OEP begins.