Best Cheap Medicare in Alaska

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Contributor, Benzinga
January 16, 2020

When reaching retirement age in Alaska, you’ll have many decisions to make — where to live, whether to continue working and what you’ll do from day to day. You’ll also need to make some decisions regarding your health. Medicare is an option available if you’re 65 or older, but there’s a lot you’ll need to know before deciding if Medicare is right for you.

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Medicare in Alaska and provide you with reviews of the top 5 Medicare providers, so you can make the choice that’s best for your future.

Best Medicare in Alaska:

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a national health insurance program provided by the federal government. Medicare offers coverage if you’re 65 or older and is also available to you at an earlier age if you have a permanent disability or suffer from certain diseases. 

Unlike the health insurance you may be used to, Medicare is provided in 4 parts. You can enroll in one or a combination of these parts.

Part A: This part of Medicare is often referred to as hospital insurance because it covers any hospital costs. This can include overnight stays, emergency care, nursing facility care, hospice services and even some home health care. If you suffer from a disease or illness that requires frequent hospital visits or want to be covered just in case, you’ll want to consider enrolling in Part A.

Part B: Similar to typical health insurance, Part B covers your outpatient medical care expenses. This can include checkups, doctor’s visits and even some testing like blood work, X-rays and dialysis.

Part C: This part of Medicare is called Medicare Advantage combines parts of A, B and D to offer you a more complete Medicare service. Not all Medicare Advantage options contain part D (prescription coverage), so it’s important to determine what types of coverage are important to you and find a plan that matches. In Alaska, Medicare Advantage plans are not offered, but many of the same services can be supplied by combining plans or opting for Medicare Gap Insurance.

Part D: The last part of Medicare is known as prescription coverage, offering lower rates on prescription drugs. There are a variety of Medicare Part D plans that you should explore.

Healthcare is typically a top expense you’ll need to budget for in retirement. While Medicare provides a good solution, it won’t always cover every medical issue or emergency. If you want to make sure you’re financially covered in retirement you may also want to explore supplemental Medicare insurance, also known as Medicare Gap insurance, which can offer additional protection and coverage outside of Medicare.

Legalities of Medicare in Alaska

Medicare is provided through the federal government and offered in Alaska through various insurance providers. Alaska also has 2 main Medicare information programs to offer assistance: the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). SHIP is staffed by volunteers to help provide counseling and explain the differences between Medicare options. SMP provides education on Medicare programs and teaches beneficiaries how to reduce and spot Medicare fraud.

Types of Medicare Plans

Medicare plans comes in a variety of options. Just like traditional health insurance plans have different coverage options and addons, Medicare also has different types. While your location may impact the types available to you, here are the main forms of Medicare plans you should be aware of.

HMO: There are 2 main types of health maintenance organization (HMO) Medicare plans: HMO and HMO POS. The HMO Medicare plan requires you to seek care from medical professionals who are in the plan’s network. There are some exceptions made for emergency and urgent care, as well as dialysis. Some plans might allow you to see a nonemergency medical professional who is out of network, but your out-of-pocket costs will typically be higher. With an HMO Medicare plan, your primary care physician will provide you with a referral if specialty care is needed.

The HMO POS plan allows more flexibility with going out-of-network, though you should still expect to pay higher medical costs. Unlike traditional plans, you’ll actually need to meet two deductibles (the HMO and POS deductibles) before your costs will be fully covered by Medicare.

PPO: Preferred provider organization (PPO) Medicare plans are offered through private insurance companies. These providers will have an in-network suite of doctors, hospitals and specialty care facilities in the plan’s network. If you use these in-network medical services, you’ll pay less. If you go outside the network, you’ll pay more.

PFFS: Private-fee-for-service (PFFS) Medicare plans allow you to go to any healthcare provider, as long as they accept your Medicare coverage. There are some PFFS plans that operate within a network, and just like the other Medicare types, you’ll save money by staying within that network.

SNP: Special needs plans (SNPs) are Medicare plans designed to provide coverage to those with certain disabilities. These plans are specifically tailored, depending upon the disease or disability, to meet the needs of special needs individuals.

How to Sign Up for Medicare in Alaska

You can sign up for Medicare in Alaska once you turn 65. The open enrollment policy for Medicare allows you to apply 3 months before your 65th birthday to 3 months after. Once you’re ready to sign up, you can register in 3 ways:

  • Visit the Social Security website.
  • Call the Social Security office at 800-772-1213. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.
  • Visit your local Social Security branch. You can find all Social Security office locations in Alaska here.

From there, you’ll choose your Medicare Part A, B, C, D (or a combination). If you have any questions or need help with the process, you can consult the Medicare checklist online.

Average Cost of Medicare Advantage Plans in Alaska

The cost of your Medicare Advantage plan will vary depending on your provider and location. You can find average costs for your state online at You’ll need to enter your ZIP code and answer a few questions to get started. 

To help you better understand the average costs of Medicare Advantage in Alaska, we’ve pulled data for using ZIP code 99501 (Anchorage).

Plan NameCompany Plan TypeHealth & Drug Costs
Humana Walmart Value Rx Plan (PDP)HumanaPart D$13.20 per month
Clear Spring Health Premier Rx (PDP)
Clear Spring HealthPart D$14 per month
WellCare Wellness Rx (PDP)WellCarePart D$14.20 per month
Cigna-HealthSpring Rx Secure-Essential (PDP)CignaPart D$22.20 per month
Mutual of Omaha Rx Value (PDP)Mutual of Omaha RxPart D$26.80

Best Medicare Insurance Providers in Alaska

While Medicare options vary depending on which part of Alaska you live in, almost all areas of this state qualify for Part D Medicare. If you’re considering purchasing Part D (or have access to other parts in your area), use these reviews of the top Medicare providers in the state to help you get started.

Cigna Medicare Advantage
Best For
  • Easy access to benefits
securely through Cigna Medicare Advantage's website

1. Best Overall in Alaska: Cigna

Cigna is a well-known name in the healthcare insurance world and its Plan D options in Alaska are some of the best around. Cigna’s most inexpensive plan starts at $22.20 per month. Cigna’s Plan D Medicare plans have high ratings and high customer satisfaction. If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable pharmaceutical drug plan to help you receive help with your medication, you should explore Cigan’s Plan D options.

Humana Medicare Advantage
Best For
  • Medicare Advantage Plans

2. Most Affordable in Alaska: Humana

If you’re worried about the affordability of drugs, Humana offers an inexpensive Part D option that will cover most major pharmaceutical needs. The Humana Walmart Plan D option costs only $13.20 per month and allows you to purchase most generic drugs with a $0 deductible. Even if you don’t live near a Walmart pharmacy, Humana will deliver your prescriptions to your home, making it a convenient option. If cost and convenience matter most to you, Humana is worth looking into.

Clear Spring Health Premier Rx
securely through Clear Spring Health Premier Rx's website

3. Best for Supplemental Drug Coverage: Clear Spring Health Premier Rx

Clear Spring Health Premier Rx is a relatively new Medicare provider offering Part D insurance to help lessen the burden of paying for expensive drugs. Clear Spring has different Part D plans depending on your needs and offers large discounts on generic drugs. While its discounts aren’t as low as Humana’s, it does have a range of low cost-monthly plans and can offer helpful supplemental coverage for your prescriptions. Clear Spring also has copays as low as $10 for preferred generic brands.

WellCare Medicare
Best For
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

4. Best for Low Copays: WellCare 

If high copays are your main concern, WellCare has a variety of Plan D Medicare options that can help. WellCare offers a Wellness Rx (PDP) plan that has copays as low as $8 for preferred generic drugs. Its monthly plans are also inexpensive and start at $14.20. This drug plan is a good option if you’re looking to reduce upfront fees, but if you require Plan B drugs (like chemotherapy), you’ll need to find a different Plan D option.

Mutual of Omaha Health Insurance
Best For
  • Medigap
securely through Mutual of Omaha Health Insurance's website

5. Best for Additional Coverage: Mutual of Omaha Rx

If you go through a lot of prescriptions in a year or have a variety of generic and brand name drugs, Mutual of Omaha Rx has plans that can help. Mutual of Omaha Rx offers low copays (starting at $10) and additional coverage like Gap coverage ($10 copay for preferred generic). They also provide Catastrophic coverage if you’ve hit financial hardships. This coverage has copays as low as $3.60 or 5% — whichever is higher — for generic drugs.

Retire in Good Health in Alaska

Make sure you plan for your future as you reach retirement age by considering all of your Medicare options. While most cities in Alaska only offer Plan D coverage, there are some areas that provide Plan B and other types of Medicare options that you should look into. Even if you’re opting for just Plan D Medicare, make sure you review all available plans to find the one that best suits your healthcare needs.

Frequently Asked Questions


1) Q: What are the different parts of Medicare?


Medicare has 4 parts named Parts A, B, C, and D. Part A provides hospitalization coverage while Part B provides outpatient coverage, like doctor visits. Parts A and B make up Medicare’s core coverages. Part C is provides private-market Medicare plans, called Medicare Advantage Plans. Part C coverage often includes additional benefits. Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription drugs. Get a Medicare Insurance Quote through the top providers here.


2) Q: Is Medicare free?


Because there are 4 parts to Medicare, there can be different cost structures. Most people won’t have to pay for Medicare Part A (hospitalization). Eligibility for premium-free Part A is based on your work history during which you paid Medicare taxes. Many people do pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, however, which covers outpatient medical services, like doctor visits. Deductibles also apply to services covered under Medicare Parts A and B, so you’ll pay a part of the annual cost.

Medicare Parts C and D are optional coverages and have premium costs of their own. Medicare Part C refers to Medicare Advantage Plans that offer additional coverage in exchange for a monthly premium. Part D, the prescription plan, reduces the cost of medications but also requires a monthly premium. Subsidies may be available for low income households to help reduce overall Medicare costs.


3) Q: Do I need to sign up for Medicare?


If you signed up for Social Security before age 65, you were enrolled in Medicare automatically but benefits will begin at age 65. In most cases, there are penalties for not enrolling at age 65, so it pays to sign up on time. Click here to get a medicare quote in minutes from the best providers. 

If you have employer coverage, you may be able to delay Medicare coverage while your work plan is still in force. However, the size of the employer determines whether you’ll pay a penalty for not enrolling at age 65. Employees (and their spouses) of companies that offer group health insurance to 20 or more people are usually exempt from late sign-up penalties if they are covered by the employer’s plan.