Learn about Medicare changes in 2022Sep 27, 2021 12:35PM ● By Eileen Doherty
Free Medicare Monday seminars offered virtually
Medicare beneficiaries can get the latest information on premiums, deductibles and co-pays for Medicare Parts A and B, and D, as well as information on Medicare Advantage plans at one of the many free virtual Medicare Monday sessions, hosted by Colorado Gerontological Society (CGS).
Reviewing your Medicare plan and drug coverage is every Medicare beneficiary’s responsibility. Medicare plans can change costs, coverage and providers in their network every year, so make sure to review your plans during Medicare’s open enrollment period from October 15 through December 7.
Individuals who have a Medicare Supplement have an initial enrollment or special enrollment period when they claim Medicare benefits, rather than annual open enrollment. Beneficiaries with a Medicare Supplement do not need to make any changes to their Part A and B coverage.
Projections are that the Medicare Part B premium will increase significantly—possibly as much as 15 percent or more—unless Congress takes action. This year, Medicare Part B is $148.50 per month for individuals earning less than $87,500 annually. Although some beneficiaries will feel like they’re unable to manage this substantial increase, dropping Part B isn’t a good option for people who face physician visits, labs, x-rays and other minimal health and wellness care.
Similarly, Medicare Part D is also increasing. The average premium is expected to be about $33, or approximately, a 4.9 percent increase. The annual deductible is increasing to $480. The total out-of-pocket expense will increase by $500—to $7,050 during the initial coverage period and the donut hole. Copays for generic and brand name drugs in the donut hole will vary. The maximum costs for drugs for those who have catastrophic coverage will be $9.85 for brand name and $3.95 for generics.
Other potential changes
There’s a lot of discussion in Congress about major changes in Medicare, such as adding vision, hearing and dental benefits, and lowering the eligibility age to 60. Other proposals include more government involvement in purchasing prescriptions from pharmaceutical companies, adding coverage for blood tests to screen for cancer, and changing payment for all vaccines to Medicare Part B to reduce out-of-pocket costs. However, until Congress takes action, none of these initiatives are in place.
Free virtual seminars
Learn more about changes to Medicare in 2022 by attending a virtual Medicare seminar or scheduling a counseling session to discuss one’s personal Medicare situation. Call 1-866-294-3971 or visit www.senioranswers.org to make reservations or talk to a counselor.
You may also contact your local SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) office for free, in-depth, one-on-one Medicare counseling. In Mesa County, call 970-243-9839. In Montrose and Delta, call 970-765-3132.
Virtual Medicare seminarsTo register, visit www.senioranswers.org or call 303-333-3482.
• October 18, 9:30 a.m.
• November 1, 6 p.m.
• November 15, 1 p.m.
New to Medicare
• October 25, 1 p.m.
• November 8, 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday Lunch & Learns (12 p.m.)
• October 20 - Prescription Drug Plans
• October 27 - Medicare Advantage & Supplement
• November 3 - Coordinating Medicare & Medicaid
• November 10 - Using Medicare.gov
• November 17 - Telehealth to Meet Your Health Care Needs
Eileen Doherty, MS, is executive director of the Colorado Gerontological Society.