Alaska Medicare insurance is one of the most popular health insurance programs for senior residents. It offers health insurance coverage to individuals who qualify, with Medicare Part A covering inpatient care and other hospital services while Medicare Part B focuses on providing insurance coverage for treatment options and medical supplies that have been deemed as medically necessary.
The federal government sponsors and funds Medicare, but Alaska’s state government can offer assistance to state residents regarding Medicare.
For those who live in Alaska and meet Medicare’s guidelines, you can get health insurance plans from private insurance companies. These carriers must have an approved Medicare program and offer plans that may help you pay for medical expenses if you are not able to qualify for premium-free Medicare health plans.
One option is to choose Medicare Advantage Plans. These plans offer coverage that is very much the same as the covered services in both the Medicare Parts A and B. However, these Advantage Plans may add extra benefits that are not covered in the Original Medicare plans.
If you already have Medicare Part A and Part B, you may get additional coverage with Medicare Part D. This Part D covers the cost of prescription medicine. Given that senior citizens are commonly in need of regular prescription medications, the coverage can be beneficial as an addition to the regular Part A and B coverage.
As a Medicare beneficiary, you may also purchase Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, which you may combine with the Medicare Parts A and B coverage. This time, the coverage is for the costs of coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments which can still be quite expensive for Medicare beneficiaries. The supplemental plan can also offer more benefits and cover more medical services that are not included in Part A or Part B of Medicare.
These plans will generally require a premium, although these premiums may depend on the health insurance carrier offering the plans.
Some Medicare beneficiaries may find it difficult to cover the expenses associated with Medicare Part A and Part B. Alaska, however, offers Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) with certain levels of assistance to cover part of the costs of Medicare. The level of assistance you receive will depend greatly on your income situation.
The program for QMBs or Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries offers assistance in paying for part of the expenses associated with cost-sharing, deductibles, and copayments. Married couples have a combined income ceiling per month at $1,711. Individuals can qualify if their earnings per month do not exceed $1,275.
Another program is for SLMBs or Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries. The program can help cover part of the cause of the premium for Medicare Part B. Married couples must not have a combined income of more than $2,049, while an individual can be eligible with a monthly income of not more than $1,526.
QIs or Qualified Individuals can apply for the program that can help pay for their Medicare Part B premium if their monthly income is no more than $1,715. For married couples, the combined income each month must not exceed $2,303.
There’s also an assistance program not for low-income persons but Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals. You can qualify as an individual if your income is within $5,105 per month. A married couple can also qualify if their combined monthly income is under $6,849.
Just remember that these income limits were set forth in 2017 for the various types of Medicare savings programs. If you exceed these limits, you should still apply as you may still qualify for certain benefits.
Medicare rules and options can lead to confusion and numerous questions. For the residents of Alaska, answers are forthcoming with the state’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). With SHIP, Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska can receive proper one-on-one counseling on how they can understand the rules and use the benefits of Medicare. If you’re in Alaska, you can call for SHIP assistance through the toll-free number 800-478-6065. You can also send an email message to SHIP at [email protected].
The Senior Medicare Patrol or SMP in Alaska can also offer guidance on how you and your family can identify and report any type of fraud that’s related to Medicare.