With a Medicare Advantage policy, you have the ability to replace your federal Medicare benefits with a private health insurance policy of equal or greater coverage. This is why Medicare Advantage is sometimes referred to as “Medicare replacement”. With such a policy, your private insurance company will take on the responsibility of paying out your health claims, instead of the government. This is one of many options for seniors who are worried about out-of-pocket expenses associated with Medicare Parts A & B.
Federal Regulations for Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans start by offering you no less than the same medical coverage you would receive if you had stayed with Medicare Part A & B. Your provider can offer no less, as federal law prevents them from doing so. Usually, though, these policies will contain basic coverage equal to Medicare in addition to gap coverage, and possibly extras like vision or dental. MAPD plans are Medicare Advantage plans which also provide prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D).
Medicare Advantage Enrollment In Alaska
As of this writing, there are no companies within the state of Alaska which sell Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) to their clients. Therefore, 0% of Alaska seniors are getting their Medicare benefits through these policies. However, there are alternatives to Medicare Advantage (and the various advantage plans, which are detailed in the chart below).
|Plan Type||Enrollment Percentage|
|Local PPO Plans||13%|
|Special Needs Plans||11%|
|Regional PPO Plans||9%|
|Private Fee-For-Service Plans||5%|
|Other (Cost Plans, MSA’s, etc.)||3%|
Plan Coverage & Cost
Just because Medicare Advantage plans aren’t being sold right now within the state of Alaska, doesn’t mean that they won’t be in the future – or that you won’t eventually end up living in a state where these policies are sold. So it makes sense to educate yourself about factors which will influence your rate, such as age, health, and tobacco habits.
Most Popular Medicare Advantage Plans in Alaska
Currently, Alaska seniors don’t have to worry as much about provider networks and limitations when supplementing their Medicare benefits. Senior citizens in the other 49 states, however, have to decide which type of Medicare Advantage policy will give them the most value for their money. HMO plans, for example, are inexpensive but very limited; whereas PPOs are pricey, but offer seniors more choice.
Helpful Medicare Advantage Tips & Tricks
Doctor/Provider Network Restrictions
Aside from Medicare Advantage, not many of the alternative Medicare supplement options force you to restrict your medical care to a pre-approved network of doctors and hospitals. Medigap insurance (Medicare supplement insurance) as well as Traditional Medicare are widely accepted by doctors and hospitals across the country.
Drug, Vision and Dental Coverage
For some seniors, especially those who need prescription drug coverage, dental, or vision insurance, it is unfortunate that there are no Medicare Advantage plans offered within the state. All of these added benefits can be bundled under the same plan, but at an additional cost. For some, however, the premium price tag is worth the convenience.
Enrollment Options & Best Time To Enroll
For the most part, finding a Medicare Advantage policy is easy. New laws are actively protecting consumers from being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, with the exception of certain chronic diseases. The most serious of these is ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease). For help getting coverage with ESRD, you should contact a licensed insurance agent to find out what your options are. You can also take a look at our Medicare Advantage Enrollment Options page for more information.
- Initial Enrollment Period: 6-month timeframe when you first enroll in Medicare to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): This timeframe runs from October 15th through December 7th every year, and during this time you can change or cancel your Medicare Advantage and part D drug plan.
- Special Enrollment Period (SEP): During special circumstances, you may be eligible to purchase/change a plan outside of the Annual Enrollment Period. Things such as moving out of the plans’ service area, losing group health or employer coverage, a company no longer offering plans in the area, etc. are all events that could trigger a SEP.