A Guide to the Alaska Medicaid Insurance Plan

Denali Care is Alaska’s version of American Medicaid and provides healthcare services for children, pregnant women, and adults meeting certain age or situational requirements. As of January of 2014, Alaska Medicaid was officially renamed to Denali Care, however the two are still used interchangeably. For children and pregnant women, the program is called Denali KidCare.

Denali Care covers multiple areas of healthcare like dental, vision, behavioral, and more. In most circumstances, Denali Care also provides coverage for medications, surgeries, and physical therapy. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide all of the details you need to know about Alaska Medicaid. By the end of this guide, you will have a thorough understanding of how the program works and how it can support your healthcare needs.

    What Is Denali Coverage?

    Denali Care, also called Denali KidCare or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), and also known as Alaska Medicaid, provides Medicaid insurance to Alaska residents. The insurance offers health, dental, and prescription coverage for citizens meeting the required criteria for those in Alaska who do not receive coverage through work, or cannot afford a private health plan in Alaska.

    Healthcare providers provide medical services, while Medicaid insurance pays for the treatment. Individual healthcare providers may or may not accept Alaska Medicaid. Two common questions posed to Alaska Medicaid frequently are:

    • Is Denali Care free? Alaska Medicaid (Denali Care) Denali Care doesn’t cost anything for qualified citizens, though using the insurance for long-term care services may trigger the Federal Government’s requirement for the state to seek repayment.
    • How is Denali Care funded? Funding for Denali Care comes from the combined forces of federal and state funding based on taxes.

    What Is a Denali Care Card?

    Denali Care Card

    A Denali Care card proves that the holder of the card qualifies for Alaska Medicaid or Denali Care. The card provides necessary information naming the covered parties, including the name of the recipient, the insurance ID number, eligibility date, date of birth and the coverage effective dates.

    Some Denali Care cards will tell you if you can only use it for specific services related to a disability or chronic illness.

    The most important number on your card consists of your ID number. This number can generate other important information attached to the card, so even if you don’t have it on your person, you can use the ID number to prove that you have Denali Care health coverage.

    Applying for Denali Care

    You have several options available to you by which you can submit an application for Denali Care. The most popular method for submitting a Denali Care application consists of downloading, printing, and filling out an Application for Services (GEN 50C), then submitting it by way of either fax, mail, email, in-person, lobby dropbox, direct secure messaging. You can also apply over the phone by calling the Virtual Contact Center at (800) 478-7778, an option that may work better if you have questions about filling out the application properly.

    If you prefer to apply online, you can do so by visiting the Alaska Department of Health - Division of Public Assistance.

    Before submitting an application, gather any necessary information that can help you prove your eligibility for Denali Care. Examples of what you might need include:

    • Birth dates
    • Social security numbers
    • Document numbers for legal immigrants
    • Current health insurance information and policy numbers
    • Work and income information for the entire household, including W-2s and pay stubs
    • Information about health insurance available to your family through a family member’s employer

    Eligibility Requirements

    To apply for Alaska Medicaid and acquire a Denali Care card, you must reside in Alaska permanently and prove that you’re an American citizen, national, or non-citizen with legal admission. Other eligibility requirements include expectant mothers, children 18 years old or under, or a primary caregiver for a child of that age. If you have insurance through your workplace, a private plan, or from a parent or guardian, you may not qualify for Denali Care.

    If you do have insurance through an employer, or have coverage through Tricare or Medicare, you may still qualify for Medicaid depending on life or financial circumstances. Alaska issues Denali Care for families of certain sizes with a particular annual household income maximum. If you exceed that maximum, you cannot qualify for Alaska Medicaid. The income limit to receive the benefits are:

    • $2,069/month if you are single
    • $2,792/ month as a couple

    There are also additional income limits, for example if you are a senior, are in need of a nursing home, blind or disabled. Please refer to this page for additional details and maximum income eligibility amounts. As coverage for certain types of disabilities may be limited under the Alaska Denali Medicaid plan, many people secure more comprehensive benefits by investing in additional disability insurance.

    When you use Denali Care in addition to other insurances, Denali Care serves as the “payer of last resort”. This means that Denali Care will only cover anything not already covered by your other insurances.

    Getting a Denali Care Card

    To obtain a Denali Care card, you must first apply for Alaska Medicaid through the methods described above. After your original application, it may take up to 45 days before you receive a response. If approved, you’ll receive your card and information in the mail, but if not approved, you’ll receive a letter explaining why you didn’t get approved and what steps you can take next.

    While waiting for your approval letter, you may have situations arise where you need medical care right away, such as a sick child or pregnancy-related difficulties. In these situations, seek the medical attention you need, but call the Virtual Contact Center at (800) 478-7778 and request they prioritize your application.

    Renewing or Replacing Your Denali Care Card

    In most cases, benefit recipients must complete and submit their renewal application by the fifth of the month during which benefits will end. This annual renewal, performed correctly, will ensure that coverage continues for another year so long as they continue meeting eligibility. Failing to submit the renewal application on time can induce a gap in coverage and delay your renewed benefits as well.

    If you need to use your benefits during a coverage gap due to late renewal, you can contact your Public Assistance office regarding the situation.

    For pregnancy, postpartum, and newborn baby coverage, Denali Care renewals have different requirements than the normal method. New mothers covered by Denali Care before their birth retain the insurance for 60 days after the child’s birth, during which she can apply for continued coverage at the 60 days.

    Newborn babies require the parents to notify Denali Care of their child’s birth, after which the baby receives coverage for the first year of their life. To continue the coverage, the parents must submit a renewal application before the child turns one.

    It’s not unusual for insurance cards to become damaged or lost, and Alaska Medicaid understands that. If you lose your Denali Care card, contact the Virtual Contact Center to request a replacement. There is also the option of sending the Alaska Department of Health an email to begin the process of replacing or renewing your card.

    Denali Care Coverage

    Alaska Medicaid covers a wide variety of medical services. To qualify for coverage by Denali Care, medical procedures, prescriptions, etc. require medical necessity. Voluntary or cosmetic procedures typically will not fall under Denali Care’s jurisdiction if they do not somehow affect the patient’s quality of life physiologically. When considering a medical procedure that you don’t know Denali Care will cover, you must discuss the potential of coverage with your medical provider. Any services that you attempt to apply your Denali Care to that Medicaid does not cover require you to pay for them yourself.


    Denali Care covers many child, adult, and elderly dental services, including emergency dental services intended to relieve the patient of infection or pain. For non-emergency dental procedures, adults have coverage up to $1,150 each year. For eligible Alaskans, it’s advised to first check to see if the dentist you intend to visit accepts Medicaid. To make sure you actually have coverage for your dental procedures, discuss what dental needs you have and ensure that your dentist obtains a service authorization before the appointment. This step will help you avoid unexpected dental expenses because Denali Care refused to cover it.

    For those who have more serious dental issues and anticipate requiring more visits to the dentists, investing in private dental plans in Alaska is advisable. Some preventive and restorative services covered by Denali Care include:

    • Crowns
    • Dentures
    • Root canals
    • Dental exams
    • Annual cleanings

    For children under the age of 21, Denali Care covers a variety of dental services including:

    • Caps
    • Crowns
    • Scaling
    • Sealants
    • Dentures
    • Polishing
    • Root canals
    • Dental exams
    • Dental X-rays
    • Fluoride varnish
    • Tooth restoration
    • Pain and infection relief

    Denali Care will also cover oral surgeries and necessary orthodontic treatments, including braces intended to correct a bite and make eating and speaking more comfortable. While most of these procedures fall under automatic coverage, you should ensure that your child’s dentist obtains a service authorization if the procedure may not have automatic coverage.

    Prescription Drugs

    Denali Care covers most prescription drugs for children and adults. If a prescription requires special authorization, your medical provider and pharmacist will take care of that for you. If your doctor prescribes an over-the-counter medication to you such as prenatal vitamins or laxatives, Denali Care may cover those as well.

    Expectant mothers and children prescriptions don’t have a co-payment, while adult patients must pay a co-pay depending on the cost of the drugs. A prescription costing less than $50 requires a $0.50 co-payment, while drugs above $50 cost $3.50. Patients with Tricare or a form of coverage from an Alaska Native Tribal entity often won’t have a prescription co-pay. The Denali Care drug program provides a list of approved prescription drugs. That list can be found here.

    Should you have another insurance plan that offers prescription coverage, you must report that to Denali Care. You should also update Denali Care if your other prescription coverage ends. If you do not disclose other prescription coverages to Denali Care, you may experience a delay in filling your prescription.

    Extended Health Care

    Rehabilitation services, nursing facilities, and home care often require long-term aid. Denali Care alleviates these health costs and covers many aspects of extended health care. From senior services like living in a nursing home or having an in-home nurse may fall under the umbrella of Denali Care.

    Alaska Medicaid requires individuals to meet certain criteria to qualify for extended health care, such as having a proven developmental or intellectual disability. Denali Care may also approve service authorizations for elderly patients requiring a stay in a long-term health care facility.

    Before approval occurs, Medicaid considers specific factors for approval of care, including:

    • What level of care the patient will require
    • The patient’s mental and physical stability
    • What qualifications the patient’s caretakers have
    • The length of time the patient must stay in the facility

    If a patient requires transfer to another facility or admission to a different facility, Denali Care must approve it. Additionally, once the patient outlasts the original service authorization, they must reapply for a new one to continue service.

    Travel and Out-of-State Coverage

    If you need to visit specialist health care providers or require a covered procedure not available in your area, your doctor may refer you to someone in a different community. When this happens, Denali Care may cover your travel so long as your situation meets specific criteria including:

    • Medicaid must approve the medical services.
    • The medical services must not exist in your area.
    • You must get approval for traveling and book travel through Medicaid.

    Denali Care understands that traveling for medical needs requires much consideration and has guidelines to help you throughout your medically-required travel. Alaska Medicaid offers travel vouchers for meals and taxi services strictly related to your medical needs. In addition, Denali Care may cover plane tickets and hotel rooms.

    The best way to ensure a good experience traveling for medical necessity with Denali Care consists of maintaining communication with the Medicaid Travel Offices. You’ll need pre-authorization to travel, and the offices that help you schedule travel and lodging can also help you when you have changes in your itinerary.

    In the case that you miss transportation or otherwise interrupt the approved itinerary, Denali Care may cancel the rest of your itinerary if you don’t contact them as soon as possible.

    On the other hand if you are traveling out-of-state for leisure and you require medical attention, chances are your Alaska Medicaid won’t cover your expenses. In some cases, if heaven forbid a life-threatening emergency occurs, Denali Care may kick in, but this is on a case-by-case instance. If you are traveling outside of Alaska for leisure, invest in proper travelers insurance.

    Students and Seniors

    Students age 21 or younger can use Medicaid so long as they meet certain criteria. If they carried Alaska Medicaid over from their time as a dependent in their parents’ household, they must report their own income and insurance eligibility. Having too high of an income may disqualify them, while having another insurance simply pushes their Medicaid into the “payer of last resort” position.

    Seniors age 65 and higher can qualify for Alaska Medicaid and use Denali Care for their medical services and long-term care. Some covered services for seniors can include:

    • Audiology
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Speech-language pathology
    • In-home part-time nursing services
    • Medical equipment and supplies kept in the home

    For seniors needing long-term care in their home or in a hospital for end-of-life stages, Denali Care can cover some hospice care services. This includes general inpatient or at home nursing and care services.

    Coverage for Subgroups

    Denali care offers Medicaid for subgroups the same way it offers medicaid to every other eligible person in the state. The discussion below outlines coverage for Aboriginals and Military personnel.


    Alaska Natives or American Indians can take advantage of Denali Care so long as they meet the same criteria required by non-Native patients. Medical insurance resources for Natives operate as normal with Alaska Medicaid, though some changes in their plans do occur, including no co-payment required for prescription drugs.

    To maintain Denali Care in addition to their Native health coverages, Alaska Natives or American Indians must work with Indian Health Services to guide them through Medicaid.


    Military families who meet the required criteria can apply for and receive Denali Care. Their Tricare insurance will take precedence for every procedure while Denali Care coverage applies to whatever amount remains. In order for military veterans to receive eligible benefits, it is advised to apply through veterans affairs.

    What Denali Care Does Not Cover

    Discussing what Denali Care covers requires us to discuss what it doesn’t cover. Denali Care exists to provide necessary medical care to children and adults who meet the criteria to gain approval for receiving Alaska Medicaid coverage. To ensure that the insurance only applies to approved procedures, Medicaid won’t cover some medical procedures and equipment, including:

    Scar removal
    Tattoo removal
    Skin treatments
    Elective cosmetic surgeries
    Elective cosmetic dental procedures
    Hair removal or replacement
    Glasses not covered by Medicaid
    Acne treatment through abrasive techniques

    It is also important to note that Denali Care does not cover the cost of funerals. While the state offers basic resources and very limited monetary benefits towards burial costs, what is available will most definitely not cover burial costs and services. It is always wise to ensure that in the event of your passing, your family is secured with comprehensive funeral insurance.

    If you are looking for even more insurance coverage beyond what Denali Care provides, such as life insurance, consider exploring your options. Visit our life insurance quote page to get personalized quotes and find a policy that suits your needs.

    Common Procedures and Denali Care Eligibility

    Many people don’t know about the many health care costs that Denali Care can cover, and therefore make a misinformed decision to not take advantage of this government backed program. Common procedures and medical treatments for those who are eligible covered by Denali Care include:

    Behavioral and Mental Health Services
    Crisis intervention Yes (conditions may apply)
    Psychological testing Yes (conditions may apply)
    Inpatient psychiatric services Yes (conditions may apply)
    Substance abuse rehabilitation Yes (conditions may apply)
    Psychotherapy (individual, group, or family) Yes (conditions may apply)
    Psychological and behavioral screening services Yes (conditions may apply)
    Chiropractic Services
    Chiropractic X-rays Yes (conditions may apply)
    Spinal manipulations Yes (conditions may apply)
    Dental Services
    Caps Yes (conditions may apply)
    X-rays Yes (conditions may apply)
    Exams Yes (conditions may apply)
    Braces Yes (conditions may apply)
    Scaling Yes (conditions may apply)
    Crowns Yes (conditions may apply)
    Sealants Yes (conditions may apply)
    Polishing Yes (conditions may apply)
    Dentures Yes (conditions may apply)
    Root canals Yes (conditions may apply)
    Oral surgery Yes (conditions may apply)
    Fluoride varnish Yes (conditions may apply)
    Emergency dental coverage Yes (conditions may apply)
    Family Planning
    Condoms Yes (conditions may apply)
    Birth control devices Yes (conditions may apply)
    Contraceptive substances Yes (conditions may apply)
    Hearing Services
    Audiology Yes (conditions may apply)
    Hearing aids Yes (conditions may apply)
    Hearing therapy Yes (conditions may apply)
    Diagnostic testing Yes (conditions may apply)
    Rehabilitative therapy Yes (conditions may apply)
    Home Health Services for Physical or Developmental Disabilities
    Meals Yes (conditions may apply)
    Chore services Yes (conditions may apply)
    Transportation Yes (conditions may apply)
    Day habilitation Yes (conditions may apply)
    Residential habilitation Yes (conditions may apply)
    Adult day care services Yes (conditions may apply)
    Supported employment Yes (conditions may apply)
    Environmental modifications Yes (conditions may apply)
    Private duty nursing services Yes (conditions may apply)
    Medical equipment and supplies Yes (conditions may apply)
    Supported group home and family habilitation Yes (conditions may apply)
    Hospice Care
    Inpatient care Yes (conditions may apply)
    Hospice nursing home care Yes (conditions may apply)
    Routine or continuous home care Yes (conditions may apply)
    Medical Supplies and Equipment
    Walkers Yes (conditions may apply)
    Ventilators Yes (conditions may apply)
    Wheelchairs Yes (conditions may apply)
    Body braces Yes (conditions may apply)
    Artificial limbs Yes (conditions may apply)
    CPAP machines Yes (conditions may apply)
    Orthotic devices Yes (conditions may apply)
    Home infusion therapy equipment Yes (conditions may apply)
    Lap-Band Yes (conditions may apply)
    Rhinoplasty Yes (conditions may apply)
    Hip replacement Yes (conditions may apply)
    Breast reduction Yes (conditions may apply)
    Knee replacement Yes (conditions may apply)
    Shoulder replacement Yes (conditions may apply)
    Therapy Services
    Physical therapy Yes (conditions may apply)
    Occupational therapy Yes (conditions may apply)
    Speech-language therapy Yes (conditions may apply)
    Therapy and Counselling
    Alaska Medicaid will cover treatments for diagnosed mental illness and substance abuse, including medication, therapy, and counseling. Therapy and counseling services do not count toward doctor’s office visits. Medicaid will also cover psychiatric care for children under 21 and adults over 65. Medicaid covers counseling and therapy for youth with autism or serious emotional disturbances.
    Women’s Care
    Preventive care Yes (conditions may apply)
    Postpartum care Yes (conditions may apply)
    Prenatal care checkups Yes (conditions may apply)
    Birth control prescriptions and equipment Yes (conditions may apply)
    Specialty Medical Services and Procedures
    Dialysis Yes (conditions may apply)
    Podiatry Yes (conditions may apply)
    Long-term care Yes (conditions may apply)
    Labs and X-rays Yes (conditions may apply)
    Nutritional health Yes (conditions may apply)

    Extending Denali Care Coverage

    While Alaska Medicaid definitely helps with coverage for medical care, you can improve your quality of life and that of your loved ones with a private insurance policy. In some cases, you may end up paying much less since your 3rd party provider will run first followed by Denali Care. This double-team of insurance coverage can drastically reduce your medical bills and make life easier when unexpected medical problems occur.

    Insurdinary makes finding the right private insurance carrier for you easy with experienced insurance agents and the ability to compare insurance quotes in one place. If you’re ready to add private health insurance to your medical experience, contact Insurdinary today for a free, no obligation health insurance quote.


    Who is eligible for Alaska Medicaid?

    Eligibility for Alaska Medicaid is based on various factors, including income, family size, and specific circumstances. Generally, low-income individuals, pregnant women, children, elderly adults, and individuals with disabilities may qualify for Medicaid in Alaska.

    How do I apply for Alaska Medicaid?

    To apply for Alaska Medicaid, you can fill out an application online through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' website. You can also apply by mail, fax, or in person at your local Division of Public Assistance office. Additionally, you may seek assistance from enrollment counselors or navigators to help you through the application process.

    What services are covered by Alaska Medicaid?

    Alaska Medicaid covers a wide range of medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, laboratory tests, X-rays, preventive care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, dental care (for children), vision care, and more. The specific coverage may vary depending on the recipient's eligibility group and any additional coverage they may have.

    Are there any costs associated with Alaska Medicaid?

    While Medicaid is intended to provide healthcare coverage at little to no cost for eligible individuals, some services may require co-payments or cost-sharing. The amount of cost-sharing depends on the recipient's income and the specific service received. However, certain groups, such as children and pregnant women, may be exempt from cost-sharing.

    Can I keep my current healthcare provider if I enroll in Alaska Medicaid?

    Alaska Medicaid allows you to choose a primary care provider (PCP) from a list of participating providers. It's important to check if your preferred healthcare provider is in the Medicaid network. If your provider is not enrolled, you may need to select a different PCP who accepts Alaska Medicaid. However, emergency services are covered regardless of provider participation.

    What other types of insurance does Insurdinary offer?

    Insurdinary, and its network of partners offer many different types of insurance. In addition to health, dental, disability, life, funeral and travel insurance as discussed on this page, you may also be interested to explore the following:


    1. https://health.alaska.gov/dpa/pages/medicaid/default.aspx
    2. https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1595
    3. https://dhss.alaska.gov/health/dhcs/Pages/medicaid_medicare/default.aspx
    4. https://www.medicaidalaska.com/portals/wps/portal/enterprise/memberpublic/
    5. https://health.alaska.gov/dhcs/Documents/PDF/Recipient-Handbook.pdf
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