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Learn about your different Medicare Alabama plans, including Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement plans, and prescription drug plans.

By Kat Tretina
Updated June 30, 2020

Key Takeaways:

  • Over 1 million people are enrolled in Medicare in Alabama

  • Thirty-six different companies offer Medicare Supplement plans in the state

  • Alabama has different Medicare Savings Programs for low-income individuals and couples

  • If you need help navigating your Medicare benefits, you can get free assistance through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

When it comes to healthcare expenses, reaching age 65 can bring you some much-needed relief. Once you reach that milestone, you become eligible for Medicare and can get affordable healthcare coverage

In Alabama, Medicare provides significant aid. Medicare covers approximately 16% of the state's population, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

If you're approaching Medicare eligibility, here's what you need to know about Medicare in Alabama.

Medicare Coverage In Alabama

In general, you're eligible for Medicare benefits if you're 65 or older. However, some younger people with disabilities and people with end-stage renal disease may also qualify for Medicare coverage.

In the state of Alabama, over 1 million people are enrolled in Medicare: approximately 654,000 are enrolled in Original Medicare, and 391,000 are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. There are an estimated 365,000 individuals enrolled in standalone Medicare prescription drug plans, sometimes referred to as Medicare Part D.4

In Alabama, enrollees spend $10,267 per year on Medicare, on average. That's slightly below the national average of $10,986.5.

find a medicare plan that fits your lifestyle

Available Alabama Medicare Plans for 2020

When you enroll in Medicare, you can decide how you want to get your coverage. You have the following options to choose from:

Original Medicare

Original Medicare is managed by the federal government. There's typically a cost for each service, and you can go to any doctor, hospital, or healthcare facility that accepts Medicare patients. In most cases, prescriptions aren't covered under Original Medicare.

Alabama Medicare plans, like all Medicare plans, have two parts:

  • Medicare Part A: Part A is hospital insurance and covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, and care in a skilled nursing facility.

  • Medicare Part B: Part B is medical health insurance. It covers some doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventative care.

Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Supplement insurance, also known as Medigap, is sold by private companies. While Original Medicare pays for many healthcare services and supplies, you still need to pay copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. A Medigap policy can help cover those extra costs.

As of 2020, there are 36 different companies offering Medicare Supplement plans in Alabama. Your monthly insurance premiums are based on factors like your age, gender, location, and history of tobacco use.

Medicare Advantage Plans

With Medicare Advantage plans, private insurance companies contract with Medicare to offer you all of your Part A and Part B benefits. Most Medicare Advantage plans also provide prescription drug coverage, too. Your services aren't paid for by Medicare. Depending on your plan, you may have a premium, deductible, copay, and coinsurance.

As of 2020, there are two companies authorized to provide Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company.

Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D)

If you have Medicare, you can add a standalone prescription drug plan — often referred to as Medicare Part D — to your coverage. Medicare Part D is an optional benefit you can use to get prescription drug coverage, including brand-name and generic medications.

Most Medicare Part D plans charge a monthly premium, and you may also have a yearly deductible and copayment.

In 2020 there are three companies offering prescription drug plans in Alabama: CIGNA Health and Life Insurance Company, UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, and UTIC Insurance Company.

If You Can't Afford Your Medicare Premiums

In Alabama, you may qualify for financial assistance if you can't afford your Medicare premiums. The state operates three different Medicare Savings Programs for low-income individuals or couples who qualify for Medicare. To be eligible for these programs, you must:

  • Qualify for Medicare Part A

  • Live in Alabama

  • Be a U.S. citizen or have satisfactory immigration status

  • Meet certain income requirements

1. Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program

Under the QMB program, Medicaid will pay your Medicare Part A premiums, Medicare Part B premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance costs. You'll receive a Medicaid card for the QMB program, which you'll need to show whenever you go to the doctor or hospital.

To qualify for the program, you must not exceed the following income limits:

  • Individual monthly income limit: $1,084

  • Married couple monthly income limit: $1,457

2. Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program

If eligible for the SLMB program, Medicaid will cover the cost of your Medicare Part B premiums only; it will not pay for your Medicare Part A premiums, deductibles, or coinsurance.

To qualify for the program, your income must fall within the following ranges:

  • Individual monthly income limit: $1,084.01–$1,296.00

  • Married couple monthly income limit: $1,457.01–$1,744.00

3. Qualified Individual-1 (QI-1) Program

Under the QI-1 program, Medicaid will pay for Medicare Part B premiums. Funding for the program is limited. When funds are used up, no more applications are accepted.

To qualify for the program, your income must fall within the following ranges:

  • Individual monthly income limit: $1,296.01–$1,456.00

  • Married couple monthly income limit: $1,744.01–$1,960.00

Medicare Resources in Alabama

If you have questions about Alabama Medicare plans, Medigap, or Medicare Advantage plans, there are resources available that can help.

The Alabama Department of Senior Services operates the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), a free service. SHIP counselors and volunteers can help you with the following issues:

Call 1-800-Ageline (1-800-243-5463) or visit AlabamaAgeLine.gov for assistance.

Kat Tretina is from Orlando, Florida and specializes in writing about finance and healthcare.