Medicare Changes 2022
There are Medicare changes every year, usually affecting the amount of money Medicare recipients spend or the benefits they receive. Every so often, huge, historic changes are made to Medicare. If a law is ever passed to include dental benefits in Original Medicare, for example, that would be a historic change. Let’s take a look at the changes to Medicare in 2022.
What are Medicare changes 2022?
There were a few important Medicare changes 2022, including a historic increase in premiums, expanded access to mental health services through telehealth, and more affordable options for insulin through prescription drug plans. In addition, the average cost of Medicare Advantage plans dropped while access to plans grew.
Expanded benefits for Original Medicare
Despite all the talk by lawmakers last year about expanding Medicare to include dental and vision benefits, no law was ever passed to make it a reality. There were however, two important expanded benefits that went into effect in 2022:
1. Mental health care including counseling and therapy have become more widely available to beneficiaries across the country through telehealth. This virtual access to mental health care is especially important for rural Hawaiians or those with mobility challenges who may have struggled to get to in-person appointments on a regular basis.
2. Without an end in sight to Covid-19, Medicare expanded its coverage to include new vaccines, diagnostic tests, and more COVID-19 measures in 2022.
Increased costs for Original Medicare
Costs rose in 2022 with both higher premiums* and higher deductibles for Medicare Part A and Part B.
Most Medicare beneficiaries do not pay a Part A premium but those who do saw an increase in their monthly payments in 2022:
Kupuna who paid between 30-39 quarters of Medicare taxes saw their monthly Part A premium increase by $15 from $259 per month in 2021 to $274 per month in 2022.
Kupuna who paid fewer than 30 quarters of Medicare taxes saw their monthly Part A premium increase by $28 from $471 in 2021 to $499 in 2022.
The Medicare Part B premium experienced its biggest increase in history going from $148.50 in 2021 to $170.10 in 2022; an increase of $21.60. This historic increase was based on a few factors including the release of a new, very expensive Alzheimer’s drug and congressional action to lower premiums in 2021.
*All premiums referenced in this article are standard rates based on individuals who make less than $91,000 and couples who make less than $182,000. Those with higher incomes may be required to pay more.
The Part A deductible increased by $72 from $1,484 in 2021 to $1,556 in 2022.
The Part B deductible increased by $30 from $203 in 2021 to $233 in 2022.
Changes to Medicare Advantage place in 2022
Kupuna looking for Medicare Advantage plans in 2022 were probably pleased to learn that the average price of a plan dropped by $2.22 from $21.22 in 2021 to $19 in 2022. In addition, the number of plans available increased by 8%, with 90% of plans also including prescription drug coverage (a 15% increase). According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report on changes to Medicare Advantage plans, the average beneficiary had access to 39 different Medicare Advantage plans in 2022, the highest it has been in recent years.
Changes to Part D prescription drug plans in 2022
The average premium for a Part D drug plan increased by $1.53 from $31.47 in 2021 to $33 in 2022. The average beneficiary had 54 plans to choose from, which represents a 23% decrease in plans. On the other hand, more plans were available with increased access to affordable insulin.
Since January 1, 2021, many seniors have had access to Medicare drug coverage with a wide range of insulin types that carry a maximum cost of $35 for a 30-day supply. In 2022 that coverage became available in every state with 2,159 Enhanced Part D plans participating in an Innovation Center model.
Changes to Medigap in 2022
The Medigap* deductible increased by $120 from $2,370 in 2021 to $2,490 in 2022. Monthly premiums vary by insurance agency.
*Medigap or Medicare Supplement insurance are private plans available to seniors who wish to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs that Original Medicare does not cover. They are not available for those who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Our independent insurance agents are dedicated to assisting people on Medicare and those who are ready to transition from employer coverage to personal retirement coverage. We help kupuna understand their benefits options and apply for additional coverage, as needed. Because we represent all the major Medicare Advantage and supplement plans in Hawaii, we are able to offer unbiased advice; all at no cost to our clients.
At PBC, our clients are our number one priority and we look forward to getting to know you and your needs. Call us today at (808) 738-4500 to see how we may be of assistance.