The Biggest Changes in Medicare Benefits for 2022

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Changes come to Medicare every year. As a beneficiary, it is critical to stay updated with these developments as they often affect deductibles, premiums, and other aspects of Medicare.

Even though each adjustment does not always involve a considerable amount, experts say it is vital to understand how any increases will impact your budget. It’s imperative to know the increasing costs this year because we’re also experiencing inflation.

Here are some of the most significant changes in Medicare benefits this new year.

Rising Deductibles

For Medicare Part A, which covers home health services, some nursing facilities, hospice care, and hospitalizations, the inpatient deductible for each hospital admission will be 1,556 dollars. According to the federal government, about 99% of beneficiaries don’t need to pay for a Part A premium for coverage because most of them meet the employment requirements.

It means that these beneficiaries have paid Medicare payroll taxes for many years. But those who don’t meet this particular requirement must pay a premium for Part A coverage, which will be 274 dollars per month.

In 2022, the annual Part B deductible will be 233 dollars compared to the 203 dollars paid in 2021. The charges beneficiaries, copays, and deductibles must pay for prescriptions under the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. It will vary depending on where they live and the plan they choose.

However, the government does limit the Part D deductible, and this year, it can’t exceed 480 dollars.

Part B Increase

In 2022, the monthly Part B premium, which covers outpatient services and doctor visits, will be 170.10 dollars. It is up 21.60 dollars from last year’s monthly charge. Experts say this is the most significant increase ever and was necessary because of the following:

  • Congress acted to lower the planned 2021 Part B increase due to the pandemic. However, lawmakers instructed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to start repaying that reduced Part B premium in 2022.
  • Increased healthcare prices because of COVID-19 care.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has decided to save money in its reserves if Medicare ends up covering the new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm. Last July 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services analyzed whether and how the agency will cover the new drug. And because the analysis process is still ongoing, there’s uncertainty about the coverage and use of the new drug by beneficiaries in 2022.

The increase will be partially offset by the 5.9% increase in the annual cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security. Social Security beneficiaries registered in Medicare have the premium subtracted from their monthly check. But take note that not everyone enrolled in Medicare is getting the benefits offered in Social Security yet.

Mental Health Coverage

Medicare strives hard to pay more attention and focus on telehealth, specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency plans to increase and expand the availability of mental health services through telehealth for 2022.

According to the CMS Administrator, the pandemic has emphasized the needs in our current healthcare system and the necessity for new solutions to deliver treatments wherever the patient may be. It’s particularly true for patients who require behavioral health services.

New potential features include providing behavioral and mental health services over the phone. It means that therapy and counseling services will be more available, particularly in areas with no access to broadband.

Another thing, the agency will pay for mental health visits in 2022, which means telehealth visits provided by rural health centers and health clinics will be covered.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare beneficiaries will have access to 3,834 Medicare Advantage plans in 2022, the largest number of plans available in at least a decade. 89% of all Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage.

The number of plans varies across counties and states. What’s more, unions and employers also offer Medicare Advantage plans to their employees who will be retiring. Find Medicare Advantage plans in your area with Assurance medicare advantage benefits.

How to Receive Financial Assistance

Low-income adults with disabilities and seniors can qualify to get financial assistance from the MSPs or Medicare Savings Program to help with their Medicare costs. The MSPs help many Americans access health care at a lower cost. However, not all qualified beneficiaries are enrolled.

The MSPs can help you pay for Medicare copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, as well as Medicare premiums. Enrolling in this program offers aid and support from these Medicare costs, enabling people to spend that amount on other needs such as transportation, housing, and food.

Final Thoughts

Medicare beneficiaries can typically expect their Medicare rates to increase annually, including deductibles, copays, and premiums. The changes are due to many different factors like the rising utilization and costs across the healthcare system, the COVID-19 pandemic, and CMS setting money aside for the new Alzheimer’s drug.