Seniors: These are the 2022 Medicare Changes You Need to Know
Medicare provides seniors with must-have insurance coverage that pays for their health needs. While plans stay relatively the same year over year, the insurer does come up with changes that you need to know about. There are some significant changes coming for 2022 related not only to what Medicare covers, but how much it will cost for customers. Start an online search to learn how these changes will impact your coverage.
The best time to review these changes and ensure your health plan is up to date is during open enrollment. Find out when this period takes place with a search online.
Here’s a rundown of the changes Medicare is making for 2022.
Medicare has two options —the Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare is made up of two parts: Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (doctor visits and testing). Most people with Medicare usually have both Part and Part B, but not always.
Part A covers inpatient care in the hospital and other health care facilities. Part B covers outpatient care services such as:
- Medical equipment, and;
- Wellness visits.
In addition to Part A and Part B, Medicare also offers other types of health coverage. One of them is Part D which covers prescription drugs, some vaccines, and shots. Medicare Advantage (Part C) is a plan under a private insurer instead of the government. Part C offers parts A, B and D, and still pays for services like eye, dental, and hearing tests and care.
Medicare Enrollment Period
Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7 annually. During this period, you may do one or more of the following:
- Switch plans from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
- Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Sign up for Medicare Part D if you were only on the Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) plan.
- Make changes from a Part D prescription drug plan to another.
These changes begin to take effect from January 1st the next year.
Medicare Changes for 2022
Medicare is set to undergo certain changes for 2022. This year that includes the addition of certain services, as well as an increase in some costs.
Coverage of COVID-19 Items and Services
Most beneficiaries of Medicare belong to the vulnerable population. They are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 infection. Hence, Medicare now covers COVID-19-related items and services. These include vaccines, diagnostic tests, antibody tests, and monoclonal antibody treatments.
Medicare fully covers the COVID-19 vaccine. As a senior, if you require the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster, Medicare will cover the cost at least six months after you received the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. If you have a disability or cannot access locations to be vaccinated, Medicare will pay a health care provider to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in your home at no cost to you.
Medicare also covers all medically necessary in-patient care if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to be under quarantine in the hospital. In addition, expanded telehealth services during the pandemic are covered.
Coverage of Cognitive Assessment and Care Plan Services
Medicare now covers a cognitive assessment during the yearly wellness visits to your doctor. This cognitive assessment is to detect early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also covers a separate visit to your healthcare provider or a specialist to do a full cognitive function test and screening to make a proper diagnosis and develop a care plan.
If diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, your care plan involves referring you to a specialist and helping you understand and gain access to community resources that will help support you during this time. These include support groups, rehabilitation centers, and adult day health programs. However, be aware that you still need to pay the tax-deductible premium for Part B and other coinsurances.
Coverage of New Screening Tests for Colorectal Cancer
The risk for colorectal cancer increases as we age, with the majority of diagnoses being in people over the age of 50. It’s important to catch early so a proper care plan can be established. Colorectal screening tests included fecal-occult blood tests, a screening colonoscopy, and a flexible sigmoidoscopy. The good news is Medicare now covers a new screening test. This screening test is known as the blood-based biomarker test and is done every three years.
To be eligible for this test, you must be:
- Between 50-85 years of age;
- Not show any symptoms of colorectal disease, and;
- Be at an average risk for developing colorectal cancer.
Possible Price Increases for 2022 Medicare
A price increase is expected for some areas of Medicare come the new year. This increase includes the deductibles for Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (doctor visits and testing), as well as the premiums for Part B and Part D. While the increases may seem minor, it is important to note them, especially if you are affected by the changes.
You can expect the following increases for 2022:
- Part A deductible to increase from $1,364 to $1,408.
- Part B premium increase from $135.50 to $144.60, as well as the deductible to increase from $185 to $198.
- Part D (prescription drugs) average basic monthly premium to increase from $31.47 to around $33.00.
Prepare for Open Enrollment
With these changes set to take effect in 2022, it’s important for seniors enrolled in (or about to enroll in) Medicare to be aware of and understand how these changes will impact their needs. Open enrollment is from October 15 to December 7, giving you ample time to review these changes and make any necessary updates to the type of Medicare you currently have, and to purchase new policies if needed.
Make sure you are getting the coverage you need for 2022 by looking at the new policies Medicare has to offer, and any gaps you may have in your current plan. If you are unsure about your needs, or how Medicare policies can benefit you further, reach out to a Medicare representative to receive help in personalizing your 2022 Medicare plan.