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Coverage Changes: A Medicare Customer Question

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What You Need to Know

  • Few enrollees pay the Medicare Part A premiums.
  • The Medicare Part B premiums went up a lot.
  • Average Medicare Advantage plan premiums decreased.

The annual enrollment period for 2022 coverage ended Dec. 7. Some employees who have a choice between using Medicare coverage and employer-sponsored coverage may wonder just what it is they’ll be getting.

Here’s part of what we tell them.

The Question

What changes have been made to Medicare for 2022, and how will they affect my coverage?

The Answer

One of the most noteworthy changes to Medicare in 2022 is a significant cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 5.9%, the largest increase in 40 years. By comparison, 2021’s COLA was 1.3%. While that may sound exciting, employees who are going with Medicare can expect several other cost increases as well.

The Medicare Part B deductible will increase by $30 to $233 from $203. The Part B premium, which older Americans pay for physician and outpatient services, will see a dramatic hike of 14.5% to $170.10 in 2022, well beyond the earlier estimate of $158.10. The higher-than-expected increase is being attributed to, among other things, rising prices and congressional intervention that placed a cap on 2021’s premium increase.

More on this topic

The deductible for Medicare Part A, which covers hospital and nursing facility care, will increase by $72, to $1,556. It is worth noting that almost all Medicare beneficiaries (99%) pay no Part A premium. Only people who have not worked long enough to pay their share of Medicare payroll taxes are liable for Part A premiums.

Medicare Advantage, a private plan alternative to traditional Medicare, will see an 8% expansion in available plans, totaling 3,834. Of these plans, 59% will be HMO plans, while 37% will be PPO plans. On average, Medicare Advantage premiums will be lowered to $19 per month, down from $21.22 in 2021.

Medicare Advantage customers are, as always, also responsible for paying Medicare Part B premiums.

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(Image: Adobe Stock)