Hollay Ghadery Last Updated On: August 16, 2023

Medicare in Alabama: Here’s How to Get the Care You Need

Health insurance coverage is important, especially as you get older. This is why Medicare has been such a successful program and it helps people feel in control of their health as they age. 

Medicare plans in Alabama, just like the rest of the country, are designed to give you health insurance coverage after age 65. If you’re looking for more information on how the program works, eligibility, and how to enroll, then keep reading for that and more. 

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Table of Contents

What Is Medicare & How Does It Work?

Medicare is a federally run health insurance program. People over the age of 65 are eligible for Medicare, as well as people that qualify earlier for medical reasons (more on that later). 

Medicare is made up of four components:

  • Part A: This covers you for hospital care, including in-patient hospital visits, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice.
  • Part B: This covers you for doctor visit, including tests, labs, x-rays, preventative care, and more.
  • Part C: This is the Medicare Advantage program, which includes Parts A, B and D, plus sometimes even more benefits like vision, dental, hearing, etc.  
  • Part D: This covers you for prescription drugs. 

You’re going to hear reference to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and Medicare Advantage, which gives you coverage for Original Medicare plus prescription drugs. 

If you’re ready to sign up for Medicare, you’ll need to decide if you want Original Medicare (with or without Part D) or Medicare Advantage. You can also enroll in a supplemental plan, run by private insurance companies, that helps with the out-of-pocket costs of Parts A and B. If you need more info, this guide will help you decide which plan is right for you. 

It’s worthwhile to note that unlike other types of health insurance plans, Medicare isn’t offered for families. You choose your own coverage and it can be different from your spouse’s coverage (if they’re eligible). 

How to Qualify for Medicare in Alabama

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to go through eligibility criteria. The good news is that it’s pretty straightforward: all U.S. citizens are eligible at age 65. Some people are eligible even earlier if they meet certain criteria, such as:
  • If you have end-stage renal disease 
  • If you have ASL (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • If you have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for 24 months or more
Medicare is interesting because once you hit the age of 65, you’re automatically enrolled in Medicare if you’re on Social Security. Your coverage will start the first day of your birthday month the year you turn 65. 

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Combining Medicare and Other Health Insurance Plans

If you’re not working at age 65, you’ll definitely want to sign up for Medicare right away to avoid costly penalties down the line. But if you’re still working at age 65 and have a health insurance plan with your employer (and they have at least 20 employees), then you have two options:

  1. You can delay enrolling in Medicare
  2. You can enroll in Medicare Part A

Because Medicare Part A typically doesn’t cost you anything to enroll, it doesn’t hurt to have it in place to help foot the bill for anything your employer’s health insurance plan doesn’t cover. 

Otherwise, you can postpone enrolling in Medicare without any penalties because you have health insurance in place. Once you leave your job, you’re entitled to a special enrollment period to sign up for Medicare. 

How to Enroll in Alabama Medicare Plans

If you’ve just turned 65 and you’re not already receiving Social Security, then your first step to getting Medicare coverage is to sign up for Social Security. You’ll get automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and you can choose whether or not you want Part B coverage when you apply for benefits. 

Otherwise, if you already get Social Security benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled and receive a Medicare card in the mail before your 65th birthday. It couldn’t be easier! 

ConsumerCoverage can help. If you’re thinking about enrolling but want to see quotes for different Medicare plans in Alabama.

The Cost of Medicare Plans in Alabama

Getting an overview of the average Medicare costs in Alabama can help you budget better for retirement as well as choose the parts of Medicare you want to enroll in. While the amounts can vary by income and specific situation, the average costs for Medicare are:

  • Part A: $0-$506 per month
  • Part B: $164.90 per month 
  • Part C: Varies by plan
  • Part D: Varies by plan and income

Part A is usually $0 for most people because they paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years while working, but if not there can be a fee (either $278 or $506 each month). 

The costs of Part C, Medicare Advantage, can vary significantly by plan and the costs can be updated annually. Part D also varies by plan and your income, so it’s important to research plans to ensure the costs and coverage make sense for your needs.

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Penalties of Not Enrolling in Medicare on Time

It’s important that you enroll in Medicare Part A when you first become eligible, or you could face a penalty down the line. This is called a late enrollment penalty, and it varies by Medicare part. 
  • Part A: If you’re not eligible for premium-free Part A and you don’t purchase when you’re first eligible for Medicare, you could have to pay a penalty of 10% extra for twice the number of years you didn’t sign up. 
    • Eg. you waited two years to enroll in Part A, so you would have to pay that 10% bump for four years. 
    • If you have insurance through your employer, you can delay Part A without penalty.
  • Part B: Unless you qualify for a special enrollment period, you’ll pay a late penalty of 10% for every year you could have signed up for Part B but didn’t, and you may also be subject to a higher premium. 
  • Part D: You won’t pay a late penalty if you have drug coverage in place already, but if not you’ll pay 1% each month that you wait after you were eligible for Medicare, and you may be subject to a higher premium depending on your income. 
Medicare is designed to give everyone the healthcare coverage they need as they get older, and not enrolling on time can cost you.

What is Medigap?

If you want even more coverage, you can choose to enroll in Medigap if you have Original Medicare. This supplemental insurance is designed to help cover what Original Medicare (Parts A and B) don’t, including:

  • Medical costs overseas
  • Copays from Parts A and B
  • Excess charges from Part B

Medigap covers many out-of-pocket costs from Parts A and B and gives you more flexibility on the providers without network restrictions. Keep in mind that you can’t have Medigap and Medicare Advantage together. 

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Get More Help with Medicare in Alabama

Trying to understand Medicare can be overwhelming. But there are resources that can help. 
  • Alabama Department of Senior Services: You can get support for any programs/services you need, including Medicare through the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP). 
  • Alabama Department of Insurance: They regulate insurance for the state, but also provide information on Medicare plans. 
  • ConsumerCoverage: Get free comparison quotes and help from an insurance agent to guide you through your options. Contact us here
You have support to help you understand your options and answer any questions you might have. 

Medicare Coverage in Alabama: A Quick Review

Medicare in Alabama is the same as Medicare throughout the rest of the U.S., which means that you’ll most likely get coverage once you turn 65. You can also double up with your employer’s plan if you’re still working to get even more insurance coverage. 

Medicare is a great way to ensure everyone is getting the basic medical coverage they need, but you can always enhance your coverage thanks to Medicare Advantage or Medicare supplemental plans. 

Want more customized coverage? Check out ConsumerCoverage today to get access to free quotes and can take control of your health. 


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