Medicare Changes 2022
The United States’ healthcare system is a work in progress. The system is best described as dynamic, meaning it is constantly evolving into something new. In particular, Medicare is especially dynamic, changing as time progresses, gradually morphing into what most argue is an increasingly efficient system. Several Medicare changes were implemented for 2022 that senior citizens and others should be aware of.
Medicare Is Changing
The most significant alteration to the nearly 65 million individuals who benefit from Medicare is the fact that the new year brings higher deductibles and premiums for medical care provided through the health care insurance program. The benefits of the federal government medical care insurance program for seniors age 65 and older and also those with disabilities will primarily remain the same as we transition through 2022.
Congress is still debating legislative changes that have the potential to alter Medicare services in the near future and also across posterity. It is important to note that changes implemented by Congress in the context of Medicare probably won’t be implemented until the end of the year at the earliest. However, there are additional notable alterations to the program implemented in the current year as detailed below.
An Increase to the Part B Premium
Medicare Part B’s monthly premium applicable to visits with physicians and outpatient services including laboratory testing and diagnostic screenings is increasing. The monthly premium for such services is jumping slightly more than $170 in 2022, climbing nearly $22 from the monthly charge of 2021. The hike is the result of inflation and the increase in healthcare costs across the board. Though the boost to the yearly cost of living adjustment of Social Security will help to partially offset the premium hike related to Part B, the truth is some of those who receive Medicare are not recipients of Social Security benefits.
Deductibles Are Climbing
The yearly deductible for Part B this year is $233, a figure that represents a $50 hike over that of the year prior. The inpatient deductible program enrollees pay for hospital admissions is up more than $70, hitting $1,556 as compared to the sub-$1,500 deductible from the year prior. Copays, deductibles, and additional charges the program’s beneficiaries pay through the Part D’s designated benefit for prescription drugs hinges on the specific plan of the enrollee as well as his or her location. It is worth mentioning the federal government has set an annual Part D maximum deductible of $480.
Medicare Advantage Premiums Decrease
Medicare Advantage premiums are declining in 2022. The program’s average plan premium for the year is $19 per month as opposed to the $21 and change average premium of the year gone by. However, it must be noted that Medicare Advantage participants are required to pay the aforementioned monthly Medicare Part B premium. Furthermore, Medicare Advantage is becoming more popular, with estimates predicting nearly 30 million individuals will enroll during the year as opposed to the less than 27 million enrolled in 2021. All in all, nearly 4,000 Medicare Advantage plans are available to residents of the United States, representing a nearly 10% increase on a year over year basis.
Coverage for Mental Health Through Telehealth Counseling
Medicare is shifting the spotlight on mental health as time progresses, partially because of the stress inflicted by the pandemic and the societal shift away from interpersonal face-to-face interactions to a digital-centric culture. Telehealth mental health services through Medicare are that much more accessible as we transition through the new year. Therapy and counseling provided by way of the internet makes it that much easier for senior citizens who have mobility restrictions to interact with a mental health therapist from the comfort of home.
Assistance With Insulin Costs
Medicare enrollees across the land have the opportunity to sign up for the enhanced Part D plan within an overarching CMS program that puts a ceiling on insulin costs at a somewhat affordable $35 each month. Those enrolled in Medicare Advantage or the regular Medicare program are eligible to sign up for the program.
Additional Time to Sign Up
The Medicare signup period has been extended. Additional time was made available as the Social Security Administration is currently in the midst of upgrading its internal systems. Those eligible to enroll in the program in the calendar year who could not enroll due to technical problems can take advantage of the signup extension all the way through the end of December of the current year.
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