In 2020, there were a total of 62.6 million people enrolled in the Medicare program. Out of those 62.6 million people, 54 million were beneficiaries for reasons of age. Consequently, seniors represent a significant portion of the individuals that will be affected by these changes. As such, it’s essential that seniors pay attention to the changes coming to Medicare in 2022.
While there are changes to Medicare every year, here are three changes that every senior should be aware of — especially with open enrollment starting on October 15.
1. COVID-19 Items and Services
One of the most significant changes coming to Medicare in 2022 is the coverage for several items and services related to COVID-19. It’s essential to remember that the following coverage only apply while COVID-19 falls under the public health emergency classification. As soon as that changes, the coverage options could also change.
The coverage extends to:
By 2022, those under Medicare will have access to FDA-authorized vaccines at no cost. These vaccines help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 significantly and helps develop immunity to the virus. You’ll need to bring your Medicare card along with you, so the health care provider and pharmacy can bill Medicare.
No matter the plan you have, you won’t be able to get the free vaccine without your Medicare card.
Medicare will provide coverage for FDA-authorized COVID-19 detection tests to assess if an individual has the virus or not. Under Medicare, you won’t have to pay anything for the test during the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, check if Medicare offers coverage for the test in your local area.
Aside from the diagnostic test, Medicare will also provide subscribers with free FDA-authorized antibody tests for the duration of the public health emergency. These tests allow you to see whether you have developed an immune response to the virus and indicates whether the virus is an immediate risk for you or not.
Monoclonal Antibody Treatments
If you end up contracting COVID-19, Medicare offers coverage for FDA-approved monoclonal antibody treatments. These treatments can help you fight the disease and keep you out of the hospital.
If you get treatment from a Medicare provider or supplier, you won’t have to pay anything. However, you do need to meet certain conditions to qualify.
It’s essential to remember that these coverage conditions only apply while COVID-19 falls under the public health emergency classification. As soon as that changes, the coverage options could also change.
2. Cognitive Assessment and Care Plan Services
Occasionally, when you see your medical service provider, they might perform a cognitive assessment to look for any signs of dementia. There are several different signs for cognitive impairment that doctors will attempt to identify. These include trouble remembering information and/or learning new information and issues with concentration.
Under Medicare, you will receive coverage for a separate visit with your doctor or specialist, who will perform a full review of cognitive function. They will establish a diagnosis regarding dementia and help develop a care plan for the future. You’re free to bring a spouse, friend, or caretaker along with you to the assessment to help provide additional information and answer any questions.
Some things that the doctor may do during the visit are:
- Ask you to perform a cognitive exam;
- Discuss your medical history ;
- Develop a care plan;
- Refer you to a specialist if it’s necessary, and/or;
- Provide information about community resources.
Many seniors that suffer from dementia go undiagnosed. By providing coverage for this test, Medicare helps ensure that every individual at risk will go in for a cognitive assessment.
Before going in for the assessment, know that the Part B deductible and coinsurance will apply.
3. Potential Price Increase
One of the most concerning Medicare changes for seniors is a potential price increase. To understand the price increase, it’s important for you to first understand the structure of Medicare.
Coverage under Medicare is split into two different parts: Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A is mainly concerned with hospitalization, while Part B covers visits to the doctors and testing.
While the cost increases might seem minor, they’re potentially going to impact enrollee coverage and their budget requirements significantly. The upcoming changes to the of Medicare in 2022 include:
- Increase in part A deductible from $1,364 to $1,408;
- Increase in part B premium from $135.50 to $144.60;
- Increase in part B deductible from $185 to $198;
On top of the changes to Part A and B, Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs, will also see an increase from $31.47 to $33.00.
While coverage for COVID-19 related services and an annual cognitive assessment are welcome additions to Medicare, the potential price increase is not. The price increase comes when many Americans face economic uncertainty due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the price increase, more people than ever before are looking to enroll in Medicare. These are the three main changes that enrollees will encounter in 2022. Even with the slight price increase, Medicare provides a lot of value. So, make sure to enroll during the open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7, 2021.