If you’re an Alaskan resident and are eligible for Medicare Part B, you should consider enrolling in a Part D prescription drug plan. Costs for medications can pile up quickly when you’re uninsured, and if you’re caught off guard by a sudden need for more prescription medicine, it could wreak havoc on your wallet. Besides this, there are only specific times you can enroll in Medicare Part D after you become a beneficiary. Waiting too long to enroll often results in late enrollment fees that will make your premiums more expensive (link).
Medicare Part D vs. Other Insurance
In Alaska, there are no Medicare Advantage Plans you can choose from to get prescription drug coverage. A Medicare Part D prescription plan is your only option to get prescription drug coverage from Medicare. You should keep in mind that enrolling in Medicare part D may disqualify you from getting drug coverage from your union or employer. For more information on how Part D works with preexisting insurance, visit our article here (link). In some cases, as with the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, you can use both Part D and your existing health insurance to meet your needs.
When to sign up
You have three potential time windows to enroll in Medicare Part D. These are:
- Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). For three months before the month you become eligible for Medicare benefits and three months after, you can sign up for Medicare Part D without penalty. Once your seven month IEP ends, the cost of your Part D premium will go up every month you fail to enroll in a prescription drug plan (link).
- The Annual Election Period (AEP). From October 15th to December 7th every year, you have the opportunity to enroll in Medicare Part D, switch plans, or discontinue coverage. If you missed signing up for Part D during your Initial Enrollment Period, it’s best to sign up during the soonest AEP. Otherwise, your late enrollment fees will get substantially higher while you wait for the next AEP to come around.
- A Special Election Period (SEP). There are a few circumstances allowing you to enroll in Medicare Part D outside of the Annual Election Period. If you’ve recently moved to Alaska and lost your previous health coverage, or if your prescription drug insurance from an employer or non-Medicare source terminates, you can qualify for an SEP.
What are my choices?
Shown below is a table including the Medicare Part D plans available in Alaska. For information describing the different benefit types of Medicare Part D in more detail, visit our article here (link). Out of the seventeen Alaskan Part D plans to choose from, three plans offer drug coverage in the donut hole. The cheapest monthly premium offered by these plans comes out to $18.40 a month after the deductible. Plans without an annual deductible have much higher monthly premiums, with the cheapest coming out to $50.70 a month.
|Organization Name||Plan Name||Plan ID||Benefit Type||Total Part D Premium||Part D Drug Deductible||Gap Coverage
|Aetna Medicare||Aetna Medicare Rx Saver (PDP)||68||Actuarially Equivalent Standard||$33.40||$360.00||No|
|EnvisionRx Plus||EnvisionRxPlus Silver (PDP)||34||Actuarially Equivalent Standard||$36.70||$360.00||No|
|Express Scripts Medicare||Express Scripts Medicare – Value (PDP)||136||Actuarially Equivalent Standard||$51.50||$360.00||No|
|Express Scripts Medicare||Express Scripts Medicare – Choice (PDP)||204||Enhanced Alternative||$87.50||$360.00||No|
|First Health Part D||First Health Part D Premier Plus (PDP)||196||Enhanced Alternative||$89.20||$0.00||Yes|
|First Health Part D||First Health Part D Value Plus (PDP)||197||Enhanced Alternative||$50.70||$0.00||Yes|
|Humana Insurance Company||Humana Enhanced (PDP)||94||Enhanced Alternative||$72.50||$0.00||Yes|
|Humana Insurance Company||Humana Preferred Rx Plan (PDP)||116||Actuarially Equivalent Standard||$25.70||$360.00||No|
|Humana Insurance Company||Humana Walmart Rx Plan (PDP)||180||Enhanced Alternative||$18.40||$360.00||No|
|SilverScript||SilverScript Choice (PDP)||68||Actuarially Equivalent Standard||$39.90||$360.00||No|
|Symphonix Health||Symphonix Value Rx (PDP)||47||Actuarially Equivalent Standard||$34.40||$360.00||No|
|Symphonix Health||Symphonix PrimeSaver Rx (PDP)||77||Enhanced Alternative||$45.10||$200.00||No|
|United American Insurance Company||United American – Select (PDP)||39||Actuarially Equivalent Standard||$90.20||$360.00||No|
|UnitedHealthcare||AARP MedicareRx Preferred (PDP)||33||Enhanced Alternative||$66.80||$0.00||No|
|UnitedHealthcare||AARP MedicareRx Saver Plus (PDP)||377||Actuarially Equivalent Standard||$37.10||$360.00||No|
|WellCare||WellCare Classic (PDP)||171||Basic Alternative||$44.20||$360.00||No|
|WellCare||WellCare Extra (PDP)||205||Enhanced Alternative||$74.30||$0.00||No|
Plans are subject to change as contracts are finalized.
Includes contracts/plans as of April 22, 2016. The data does not reflect information for Employer sponsored plans, Part B only plans, or plans not offering a Part D drug benefit.