With 2022 just around the corner, it's the right time recap the 2021 changes to Medicare, dive into Medicare costs for 2022 and answer your questions on premiums, deductibles, increases, and income limits.
After all, it’s important to stay informed on the Medicare plan costs and changes in the year ahead to understand how it may impact your health and finances - regardless of if you have Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Supplement Insurance.
As of January 1, 2021, Medicare beneficiaries with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), also known as kidney failure, were able to get coverage through Medicare Advantage plans - perhaps the biggest Medicare development in 2021.
Prior to that, Medicare Advantage plans generally excluded people with ESRD. This left ESRD patients in a tough spot, since under Original Medicare Part B, they paid 20% of the cost of dialysis. And this can get expensive very quickly since there was no out-of-pocket cap on their expenses under Original Medicare.
Since many Medicare Advantage plans charge a 20% coinsurance for dialysis, those with ESRD may not have seen cost reductions in early 2021. However, the good news for ESRD patients is that every Medicare Advantage plan has an annual out-of-pocket maximum. So once ESRD patients hit their annual spending caps, they’re not required to pay for any more covered medical expenses the rest of the year.
In 2021, Medicare Advantage plans also added extra benefits designed to help people get care at home and lend some support to caregivers.
But these extra benefits were not required or guaranteed through all plans. Instead, Medicare Advantage plans can provide them on an optional basis, or they can also be changed or discontinued from year to year.
These extra benefits offered by Medicare Advantage plans included:
In 2021, we also saw changes to the Medicare Part D Senior Savings Model. This model program capped the price of a 30-day supply of many types of insulin at $35.
Under this new program, Medicare beneficiaries could access 1,700 MAPDs (Medicare Advantage plans with Part D drug benefits) and stand alone Prescription Drug Plans that cap the cost of insulin.
Another great detail about this program is that the cost for insulin won’t change, even if you entered the coverage gap during the year. You’d still pay the same capped copayment. In addition, you won’t have to meet a deductible to get the $35 copay price. But it's important to know that not every Part D plan chose to participate in this program.
Still, given the effect of diabetes on the kidneys, ESRD patients saw some great new benefits in 2021.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the following Part A and Part B costs for 2022:
Some of the biggest changes CMS announced are the increases to 2022 Medicare Part B costs.
These Part B cost increases are based on a number of factors, including:
The Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) applies to Medicare beneficiaries who earn over $91,000 per year and are enrolled in Medicare Part B. If this applies to you or a Medicare-eligible loved one, you may pay an extra charge in addition to your standard Part B monthly premium.
The amount of your IRMAA is determined by your income tax return over the past two years. Here’s a breakdown of the Part B premium surcharges based on your income tax bracket.
Note: Medicare Part B premiums and IRMAA surcharges are typically deducted from your Social Security benefits on a monthly basis. People who aren’t yet claiming Social Security are billed directly by Medicare.
Note: These 2022 costs and updates have been provided by CMS. For more information, visit the CMS newsroom.
If you still have questions about 2022 Medicare costs and how they impact you, calling 800-620-4519 to speak to one of our licensed insurance agents. You can also view our Medicare resources online, including: