Each year, we speak to thousands of people who tell us how confusing and overwhelming Medicare can be. We understand how tricky it is, and you are not alone.
To help you make sense of Medicare, United Medicare Advisors has reviewed and analyzed changes to the costs and benefits of Medicare plans to help you make an informed decision.
This guide covers all of the significant, must-know information about what to look for in 2022 including:
- Changes to monthly premiums
- Yearly deductible increases
- Changes to out-of-pocket maximums
- IRMAA adjustments
We’ll also discuss how COVID continues to shape health care technology and how new care methods will be incorporated into health care services in the future. Plus, we’ll show you how you can take the stress out of the Medicare shopping process.
Medicare Costs for 2022
Prices seem to be increasing for everything these days, and Medicare is no exception. In fact, every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announces increases in monthly premiums and changes to deductibles due to the Social Security Act, which ensures that cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) keep pace with inflation. Because this amount varies from year to year, it’s vital to stay informed of the latest increase to make sure the Medicare Supplement plan you selected still meets your needs .
Medicare Premiums for 2022
In 2022, there are substantial changes in the amounts Medicare beneficiaries will pay in premiums and cost-sharing at the doctor’s office.
Note: Since 99% of Medicare enrollees pay no premium for their Part A coverage, we will focus on the changes for Parts B and D.
2022 Part B Premiums
Medicare Part B covers doctor visits and other outpatient services. Part B premiums have increased significantly for 2022. In 2021, the Part B monthly premium was $148.50. That amount will increase to $170.10 for 2022, which is a difference of $21.60. This increase represents the largest raise to the Part B premium ever.
But there is a silver lining: the premium increase will likely be fully offset by the 2022 COLA (or cost-of-living adjustment). COLA is a payment increase added to the Social Security Income benefit amount each year to help compensate for rising prices. The 2022 COLA of 5.9% is the largest in 30 years, and CMS says it will more than cover the higher Medicare Part B premium.
The rates above are the standard premium, meaning 93% of people with Medicare Part B will pay this premium.
Those with higher incomes will see their monthly premiums for Part B adjusted through Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA). IRMAA is an amount of money added onto the standard or base premium. For higher-income enrollees — individuals making over $91,000 a year — you can find the 2022 IRMAA increases below.
Part B IRMAA for 2022
IRMAA amounts for Medicare Part B increased for all income levels:
2022 Part D Premium
Medicare Part D is Medicare’s prescription program that helps cover some, but not all, prescription costs. These plans are provided by private companies (primarily insurance providers) and are approved by the federal government. While there are a vast amount of options, the truth is there is generally only one plan available in your area that will offer the prescriptions you need at the lowest cost at your preferred pharmacy (or via mail).
It’s important to know that insurers update their Part D premium rates annually. If you’re enrolled in a Part D plan, your insurer will mail you an Annual Notice of Change letter notifying you if there has been an increase in your monthly premium. Additionally, it will tell you whether your specific medications are still covered or have been removed from your plan’s covered drug list or formulary.
Medicare Part D premiums can vary depending on your plan and location. Like Part B, premiums for Part D are also dependent on income. People who make less than $91,000 a year would pay the standard Part D premium. The average Part D premium for 2022 is $33, up slightly from the 2021 average of $31.47.
Part D IRMAA for 2022
IRMAA for Part D also increased for 2022 and CMS estimates it will impact around 8% of Part D enrollees. The IRMAA amounts for all levels have been increased for the 2022 plan year:
Medicare Deductibles for 2022
Along with your premiums, it’s also important to pay attention to your deductibles (the amount you pay out-of-pocket when you receive care).
For 2022, the maximum deductible has increased in Parts A, B, and D.
2022 Part A Deductibles
Part A (hospitalization coverage) covers up to 90 days in the hospital each year. After the deductible is met, there is no coinsurance (amount of the cost you need to pay) for the first 60 days of hospitalization. Beyond that, it allows enrollees 60 additional days of coverage in their lifetime. If you need to use these “lifetime reserve days”, the daily coinsurance for 2022 is $778 (up from $742 in 2021).
The inpatient hospital deductible for 2022 is $1,556, which is $72 over the 2021 deductible of $1,484. Daily coinsurance also increased for long-term stays. From day 61 through day 90 of hospitalization, enrollees will pay $389 in 2022 (up from $371 in 2021).
Additionally, coverage for skilled nursing facilities works similarly: there is a daily coinsurance amount for more extended stays. For days 21-100, the skilled nursing facility coinsurance increased from $185.50 in 2021 to $194.50 for 2022.
2022 Part B Deductibles
The deductible amount for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries will increase to $233, an additional $30 per month over 2021.
Note: Those currently enrolled in Medicare Supplement Plans C or F (both discontinued to anyone who became eligible on or after January 1, 2020) will continue to have no deductible for their Part B services. For all other Medicare Supplement Plans, the $233 deductible would need to be met before coverage for office visits would begin for the year.*
*Some areas of the country offer high-deductible options for Medicare Supplement Plans F and G. For these plans, the annual deductible would be $2,490 for 2022.
2022 Part D Deductibles
The standard annual deductible for Part D plans is $480 for 2022. The standard deductible, also known as the maximum deductible, means that insurance companies offering Part D policies cannot include deductibles higher than that amount.
However, many plans offer lower deductibles than the standard amount. For anyone who wants more substantial coverage, plans are available with low or sometimes no deductible. Remember that these plans will typically come with a higher monthly premium.
Medicare Out-of-Pocket Maximum
Cost-sharing increases do not just stop at deductibles. The out-of-pocket maximum — or the maximum amount you would be required to pay in a calendar year — also goes up. And even though we hope you will never encounter it, it is good to be aware of the new numbers. This maximum increased from $6,550 in 2021 to $7,050 for 2022.
Technology in Health Care
COVID-19 changed our lives in significant ways. While many of the changes are ones we look forward to leaving behind, the increased use of technology in health care is one change that many hope is here to stay. The need for innovation to meet our basic health needs has brought technology that can support better health care, even after the pandemic.
That fact might sound scary if you don’t feel comfortable using computers in health interactions. Still, these changes in how we receive medical care can save time and improve the overall health for those who want to use it.
Telehealth (sometimes called telemedicine) is mainly associated with virtual doctor visits where you communicate with your doctor via video call. But telehealth includes many other tools and methods that can enhance your care.
One example is remote patient monitoring, which allows you to take health measurements in your home for your doctor to review in real-time. This technology can be used to remotely monitor blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar, usually with a device similar to what you already use to monitor these vital signs. This type of telehealth is seeing a significant increase in popularity because it has been proven to lead to better outcomes.
For example, suppose your doctor changes you to a new blood pressure medicine.With remote patient monitoring, the doctor can immediately see whether the new medicine is working well for you. Then he or she can adjust your dosage right away, instead of waiting until your next appointment. This technology can give patients better care and more convenience.
You can enjoy the convenience of having your prescriptions delivered to your home. Medicare covers mail-order pharmacies, but COVID-19 has spurred local and chain pharmacies to start delivery services as well. If you do a virtual visit with your doctor, the doctor can send the prescription to the pharmacy and you can have your medicine delivered without ever having to leave home. For those who have mobility issues or do not have their own means of transportation, this development is a real game changer.
The Benefits of Licensed Insurance Agents
With all of the changes and moving parts involved in finding the right Medicare coverage, it is easy to get overwhelmed. UMA’s Licensed Agents take time to fully explain Medicare, answer all your questions, and review your Medicare plan with you each year. We’ll help you feel confident in your Medicare Supplement plan, year after year.
Whether you’re new to Medicare or looking to find a different plan, our dedicated team of Licensed Insurance Agents will find coverage that fits your needs, no matter your situation. You can save time, energy, and money by calling us to compare available plans today.
United Medicare Advisors is United in Your Medicare Journey.