Medicare in Alabama
- Find out what Medicare options you have in Alabama, including information about various plans and who is eligible, in this guide.
What Alabama Medicare Plans Are Available?
Qualifying Alabama residents may be able to enroll in the following types of Medicare:
- Part A
- Part B
- Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C
- Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage
- Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap
Medicare Part A and Part B are part of Original Medicare, which is publicly funded and administered. Part A covers hospital care, short-term care in nursing homes and inpatient facilities, hospice care and home health care. Part B provides coverage for preventive care and medically necessary services. For example, routine checkups, diagnostic visits and care for injuries and illnesses are covered by Part B.
Medicare Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans replace a person's Original Medicare with a private insurance plan that usually offers broader coverage. These plans may include dental, vision and prescription drug coverage. Beneficiaries typically pay a premium for Part C plans, but the costs tend to be less than for a traditional private insurance plan.
Another Medicare program offered through private insurance companies is Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Medicare beneficiaries can purchase these plans to supplement their other Medicare benefits. Part D plans help enrollees pay for prescription drugs since Original Medicare usually doesn't cover medications from retail pharmacies.
Finally, beneficiaries may purchase a Medigap plan to pay for costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover. These plans are also called Medicare Supplement Insurance and may cover expenses like:
- Coinsurance and copayments
- Medicare Part B excess charges
- Foreign travel emergencies
Alabama has 1,059,206 Medicare enrollees. A bit over half of those, 586,215 people, are enrolled in Original Medicare, while 472,991 are enrolled in Medicare Advantage.
Who Is Eligible for Alabama Medicare?
Alabama residents who are 65 or older are usually eligible for Medicare, and some people may qualify at a younger age if they're diagnosed with a long-term disability. Many older adults are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B if they are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Others may need to take action to enroll. There are several enrollment periods that beneficiaries should know about:
- Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
- General Enrollment Period
- Special Enrollment Periods
- Fall Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Part D
People who are newly eligible for Medicare have seven months to sign up for Parts A and B. This time is known as the Initial Enrollment Period. Beneficiaries can also join a Part C or D plan during this period.
Those who miss the Initial Enrollment Period can enroll in Parts A and B during the General Enrollment Period from January 1st to March 31st each year. However, they may have to pay higher premiums or late enrollment penalties.
Special Enrollment Periods are available to some people covered under an employer's health plan. Special enrollment may be open for up to 8 months after that employment ends. There is often no penalty for signing up during a Special Enrollment Period.
Finally, the Medicare fall Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15th to December 7th each year. Enrollees can use this time to join a Part C or D plan or to switch plans.
How Do I Enroll in Medicare in Alabama?
If you start receiving Social Security benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you'll probably be enrolled automatically in Medicare Parts A and B. You'll receive a card in the mail before your birthday if you're automatically enrolled.
If you aren't automatically enrolled, you can sign up for Medicare Parts A and B through Social Security. Applications can be completed online, at a local Social Security office or by calling 1-800-772-1213.
Contact Information for Alabama
You can find resources and contact information for Alabama Medicaid and Medicare here. The Alabama State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can be contacted via:
- Telephone at 1-800-243-5463
- Online at http://www.alabamaageline.gov/