Alabama Health Insurance: 2021 Coverage Guide

Fran
Fran Majidi
November 3, 2020

If you’re an Alabama resident shopping for health insurance, we have some important information for you that will allow you to better decide which health insurance plan fits your needs and budget. Keep in mind that you must buy a health plan during the open enrollment period, unless you have a qualifying event, or else you’ll have to wait another year to get insured.

When Is Open Enrollment in Alabama?

November 1, 2020 - December 15, 2020. Coverage begins January 1, 2021.

How to Get Health Insurance in Alabama

We always advise health insurance shoppers to get an idea of their healthcare needs for the following year. This will help you determine what your costs will be. Simply look back at the previous year to get a good estimate of what you’ll need. Note how many specialists you saw and how much you were paying in copays. How frequently did you see your doctors? All of this will help you choose a tier of coverage, which usually ranges from bronze or gold or even platinum. The more coverage, the more you’ll pay each month in premiums, but your out-of-pocket expenses will drop greatly. So, sometimes, a higher premium plan saves you money over the course of the year. And each person’s needs are different.

After you gather all your important information, you can compare health insurance companies and health insurance quotes. After you submit a brief form to SmartFinancial you’ll get several competing health insurance rates, and we’ll connect you with an agent in your area, to give you the opportunity to ask more questions or buy a plan.

What Types of Health Insurance Are Available in Alabama?

HMOs, EPOs, PPOs and POS plans are available in Alabama along with short-term health plans and catastrophic plans. If you’re a senior or someone with a disability or condition that qualifies you for Medicare, we have important information for you below.

For people buying an individual or family plan, you have all the tiers to choose from in Alabama: bronze (covers 60% of costs), silver (covers 70% of costs), gold (covers 80% of costs) and platinum (covers 90% of costs). Do not look at how much the premium costs alone. Consider how often you visit providers. If you see your doctors frequently, you may actually save money with a plan that has a higher premium and lower deductible.

Does Health Insurance Cover Pre-existing Conditions?

You will not get turned away for health insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions if you buy a marketplace plan.

Do I Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?

Common reasons people qualify for a special enrollment period:

  • You may have lost a job, changed jobs or even started your own business and are without health insurance. Or maybe you lost a job and with it your health insurance.
  • You turned 26 and can’t be on your parents’ health plan any longer.
  • You moved out of your insurer’s coverage area.
  • You reached the end of your Cobra extension.
  • You shared a health plan with a spouse but got a divorce.
  • You recently married.
  • You had a baby or adopted a child.
  • Your spouse or partner passed away, and you lost your shared coverage.
  • Your spouse or partner lost health insurance coverage due to a qualifying event and you lost shared coverage.

Is Health Insurance Required in Alabama?

No, only California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Rhode Island, and DC have a tax penalty for not having health insurance. Even when it’s not required, buying health insurance can prevent medical bankruptcy.

How Much Is Health Insurance in Alabama?

The average cost of health insurance in Alabama for a 40 year old is about $488 a month. Health insurance costs more as you age. Tobacco use increases health insurance rates.

How to Save on Health Insurance in Alabama

When shopping for a plan in Alabama, it’s best to compare rates based on the tier system. See tips on how to do this at the top.

Find Affordable Health Insurance in Alabama

Medicare in Alabama

Medicare is health insurance coverage for Americans ages 65 years and older. The government also allows younger people with disabilities to enroll in the program. Individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease (a permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant) can also sign up as can some individuals with severe mental health issues. Others who qualify for Medicare disability coverage are individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Most beneficiaries will receive Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Some people buy Medicare Advantage, which includes Part A and B as well as offering vision, dental and prescription drug coverage.

How Many People Are on Medicare in Alabama?

21% of Alabama residents are on Medicare.

How Much Is Medicare in Alabama?

If you do not qualify for Medicare, you can buy it for $458 a month for Part A in 2020 and a standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B was $144.60 for 2020, or even higher depending on income. .

Original Medicare vs Medicare Advantage: What’s the Difference?

Medicare is a government subsidized health plan that is available to qualified Americans age 65 and older. Medicare Advantage is sold through private health insurance companies, but these policies are also regulated by the government. Medicare Advantage plans offer the same benefits as Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare Advantage plans also offer more coverage for dental, vision, hearing and prescription drugs. Medicare Advantage plans have a maximum out-of-pocket limit. For 2020, it was $6,700 but many plans set their maximums at a much lower cost. That is why it’s important to compare companies. People who opt for original Medicare can buy Medicare Supplements to help with out-of-pocket costs. You cannot buy both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplements. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during open enrollment, you will automatically be disenrolled from original Medicare.

How to Get Medicare Coverage in Alabama

If you receive social security payments, you may automatically enroll in Medicare, but you may have to sign up if you do not receive payments. The easiest way to enroll in Medicare is by working with a trusted insurance agent to get the coverages you want. Just enter your zip code and answer a few simple questions.

Types of Medicare Plans Available

Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost Plans (only offered in certain areas), Demonstration/Pilot Programs (also called Research Studies; only offered in certain areas) and Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

How Do I Qualify for Medicare?

To qualify for Medicare you must be a citizen of the U.S. or have been a legal resident for at least five years. If you are age 65 or older and you/your spouse have worked for at least 10 years (40 quarters) or you have a disability, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you most likely qualify for Medicare.

How Can I Save on Medicare in Alabama?

You can save on Medicare by signing up for Part B as soon as you’re eligible. People who enroll late must pay a penalty every year. If you’re interested in buying Medicare Advantage, you can shop and compare Medicare plans for the best value.

Find Affordable Health Insurance in Alabama

Alabama State Health System Ranking

Ever wonder how your state stacks up when it comes to quality healthcare? The Commonwealth Fund published a report in 2020 on State Health System Performance. They took into consideration the access to quality care, health outcomes, and disparities in all 50 states. The scores for the Alabama Health System are listed below:

  • Alabama: Overall Ranking: 40 of 51
  • Alabama: Overall Performance: Below U.S. Average
  • Alabama: Access and Affordability: 41
  • Alabama: Prevention and Treatment: 29
  • Alabama: Avoidable Hospital Use and Cost: 27
  • Alabama: Healthy Lives: 42
  • Alabama: Health Care Disparities: 49

Alabama Health Insurance Coverage

The people of Alabama have different kinds of health insurance while some Alabama residents are not insured at all. See the breakdown below:

  • Private coverage: 47%
  • Medicaid: 21%
  • Medicare: 21%
  • Uninsured: 11%

Report: America's Health Insurance Plans

Alabama Health Insurance Companies

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