During the open enrollment period for 2022 Medicare coverage, which runs from October 15 to December 7, seniors will see added costs and complexities in the year ahead. Ensurem's Dave Rich explains what to expect.
LARGO, Fla., Sept. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- During the period beginning October 15 of this year and ending December 7, U.S. seniors will be able to enroll in or alter their Medicare coverage for 2022. Among the changes facing enrollees, notes Dave Rich, CEO of Ensurem, a Florida-based insurance technology and product distribution firm, are cost increases—deductibles for Medicare Part A (hospitalization) and Part B (visits to doctors and testing) have increased, as have the Part B and recommended Part D premium. These increases, Rich observes, come at a time of uncertainty for the U.S. economy, which is still struggling with the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.(1) "In this atmosphere," says Rich, "it is more important than ever that seniors be able to navigate the complex Medicare insurance market and find the plan that best fits their needs."
While the cost increases announced for Medicare 2022 might seem minor, Rich notes they can have a significant impact on enrollees' coverage and concomitant budget requirements. Changes for 2022 include:
an increase in the Part A deductible of 3.2%, from $1,364 to $1,408;
an increase in the Part B premium of 6.7%, from $135.50 to $144.60; and
a 7% increase in the Part B deductible, from $185 to $198.(2)
In addition, the average basic monthly premium for standard Medicare Part D (prescription drug) coverage is expected to rise about 4.9%, from $31.47 to approximately $33.00.(3)
These increases are only the beginning of the changes seniors can expect across the Medicare insurance landscape. In 2021, 42% of Medicare-eligible beneficiaries were enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans, a percentage almost certain to increase.(4) Along with this increase in participation, says Rich, will come an equally almost certain increase in the number and variety of Medicare Advantage plans available. Nationwide, there were a total of 3,550 Medicare Advantage plans offered in 2021, creating a choice, for the average Medicare beneficiary, among 33 different available offerings.(5)
It's important to note, Rich adds, that the annual open enrollment period does not affect nor apply to Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap—as these plans are available without medical underwriting during the beneficiary's initial enrollment period, and during limited special enrollment periods. Seniors can purchase Medigap outside of these periods, but there are no guarantees the underwriter will issue a policy.(6)
Insurance plans, Rich points out, tend to be somewhat detailed documents. Carefully going through more than 30 of them, under time pressure and with a great deal at stake, is a daunting prospect for most people. Seniors should seek guidance through this bewildering landscape. However they choose to approach this Medicare period, Rich advises seniors to remember that the process is inherently messy and complicated—and is rapidly becoming even more so.
"It's a maze," Rich says. "To avoid getting unneeded coverage, to make sure they have the coverage they do need, and to keep their costs to a minimum, seniors need to do research, seek advice, and be prepared."
Ensurem, headquartered in Largo, FL, is a leading technology and product distribution company serving carriers and consumers within the massive U.S. senior market. The company offers Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, vision, dental, hospital indemnity and final expense insurance. It also provides end-to-end solutions for carriers, including product development, digital marketing and consumer-centric insurance technologies. For more information, please visit ensurem.com.
1. Amadeo, Kimberly. "US Economic Outlook for 2021 and Beyond." The Balance, 29 Oct. 2020, thebalance.com/us-economic-outlook-3305669.
2. "Changes in Medicare 2022: Key Takeaways." Medicare ABC: Get Medicare Insurance Agents, 21 July 2021, medicareabc.com/changes-in-medicare-2022-key-takeaways/.
3. "CMS Releases 2022 Projected Medicare Part D Average Premium." CMS, cms.gov/newsroom/news-alert/cms-releases-2022-projected-medicare-part-d-average-premium#:~
4. "As Medicare Advantage Enrollment Booms, Healthcare Entities Need to..." The Chartis Group, chartis.com/as-medicare-advantage-enrollment-booms-healthcare-entities-need-to-plan-around-key-trends.
5. "Medicare Advantage (PART c) Health Plans." Medicareresources.org, 2 July 2021, medicareresources.org/medicare-benefits/medicare-advantage/.
6. Medicare Q&A; "When can I buy Medigap?"; medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/when-can-i-buy-medigap
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