Starting in 2022, all Medicare beneficiaries will have one or more of four new Medicare health plans that may better meet your needs and save you money, plus a separate drug plan to cover your prescriptions. Many seniors have not heard much about these new plans and what they do — so I am writing to give some information on the many different Medicare you can choose for 2022 if Medicare covers you.
Compare Your Current Plan’s Cost and Benefits
Medicare beneficiaries are about to experience a significant change. The Medicare Advantage program will be changing in 2022, and beneficiaries need to be prepared.
The plan that you’re currently enrolled in may not be available next year. So how can Medicare beneficiaries navigate this transition successfully?
Here are some tips for Medicare Advantage enrollees:
- Compare Your Current Plan’s Cost and Benefits
- The first step when comparing plans is to know what you have now. The easiest way to do this is by requesting your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) from Social Security through their website. This document outlines what you have been paying in premiums, what services are covered, and any out-of-pocket costs included with the plan.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to compare plans. You need to make sure that your current plan still offers the benefits you need at an affordable cost. If your current plan doesn’t do this for you, it might be time to change.
- Consider Your Health Needs
- Make a list of your prescription drugs and their costs. This includes both over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs covered by your current plan. Also include any additional expenses such as co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, etc. Add those amounts up to get an idea of how much you pay every month for prescription drugs alone.
- Comparing coverage offers is another way to determine which plan might be better for you. Make sure you review all the details of each plan carefully. Hence, there are no surprises later on when you have an unexpected medical event like a trip to the emergency room or hospitalization due to illness or injury.
- Look at what coverage each plan offers based on your specific needs. For example, if you have diabetes or heart disease and need insulin or blood pressure medication, it would be beneficial for you to enroll in a plan with a low premium but a high deductible. On the other hand, if you don’t have any chronic conditions but are concerned about having them later down the line (such as cancer), choosing a plan with higher premiums but lower deductibles may benefit your situation.
Start Comparing Plan Options Early
The Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in 2022 will be based on the same plan types as those currently offered. There will be three main plan types:
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans offer a limited network of providers and charge higher premiums.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans offer wider networks of providers but charge lower premiums.
- Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans allow you to go to any provider with higher out-of-pocket costs.
The first step is to compare your current plan with its 2022 counterpart to ensure it meets your current and future needs.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need an HMO or PPO?
- Will I use my current plan’s benefits more than once every two years?
- Do I want a broader network of providers or prefer to go out of network if necessary?
- Would I instead pay higher premiums than have higher out-of-pocket costs at the service point?
Assess the 2022 Plan Options in Your Area
Are your providers covered? Will you need to switch providers? You should always check out the network before deciding which plan is best for you, especially if you have any specific needs or conditions requiring special attention from doctors or hospitals.
It requires seniors to reevaluate their health care needs, including whether they want to stay with their current providers or switch to new ones.
The process can be confusing and stressful — especially since it’s happening at once for everyone on Medicare — but you must make informed decisions about your health care coverage in 2022.
You’ve probably heard about premium savings options, like Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage and Medicare Advantage plans. However, there are other ways to save money on health care costs. You may be able to get assistance from your employer or other sources if you have high medical expenses.
You should choose a plan with low premiums if your budget is tight and you want to keep your monthly expenses low. However, if you select one of these plans, make sure it has good coverage options for your needs. If you find yourself needing more than the plan offers, it may not be worth staying in it for long-term coverage purposes.
Keep Track of Changes in 2022 Coverage
Make sure you’re up-to-date on the changes in coverage for 2022. Some of these changes may affect the type of plan best for your needs. Check out our Medicare Plan website like MedicareConsumer.com to help you make informed decisions about your coverage options. It can help identify which plans are available in your area and compare them side by side based on cost, quality ratings, and more. It has a handy calendar tool to see how coverage will change over time for each plan option offered.
In 2022, most MA premiums will increase by 5% — but not all plans will see this increase simultaneously. Due to their costs or extra benefits, plans with higher premiums will likely see a more significant increase than other plans offering similar services. However, your actual premium amount may vary depending on where you live or whether your employer contributes toward coverage costs (if applicable).
You can save money with Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans, but there are many different plans available, and you need to shop around to find the best one for you.
You should also be aware of changes in coverage that may affect your current prescription medications or treatments. Plus, many people like the idea of employment-related benefits, but you may save money by switching to Medicare Advantage plans or a prescription drug plan instead. And, although premiums are generally stable in 2022, you can save money by finding lower prices elsewhere. It’s all part of knowing how to navigate 2022 plans successfully.