If you’re enrolled in Medicare or approaching eligibility, understanding the latest changes to Medicare is essential to determine if you’re impacted by any of the changes. Our team of Medicare agents in NC are up to date with the latest amendments to Medicare, so we can help you with any questions relating to your coverage.
Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn
This year, the most significant change Medicare beneficiaries will see is increased premiums and deductibles. The changes apply to anyone receiving the federal government’s health insurance program (65 and over) and anyone with qualifying disabilities.
The monthly premium for Medicare Part B is set to increase by approximately $22 per month compared to 2021. Medicare Part B covers your visits to see a doctor and other outpatient services, for example, lab tests or diagnostic screenings.Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) stated the increase was necessary for three reasons:
The rising cost of health care, some of which is attributed to Covid-19.
Due to the pandemic, Congress did act to lower the 2021 Part B premium increase. Still, lawmakers instructed CMS to start paying back the reduced premium year.
CMS set aside funding in its reserves for Medicare to potentially cover a new Alzheimer’s drug. The annual price for the drug was initially $56,000. After CMS set the Part B premium, the drug’s manufacturer reduced the price to $28,200. Some advocates have urged CMS to lower the premium increase due to the price cut.
The Part B premium increase will be offset slightly by an almost 6% increase in Social Security’s COLA, the annual cost of living adjustment. If you receive a Social Security benefit and you’re enrolled in Medicare, the premium is deducted from your monthly check. However, not everyone in Medicare gets Social Security benefits, so they won’t benefit from this increase.
The annual Part B deductible is also increasing by $30 this year to $233.For anyone enrolled in Medicare Part A, which covers hospice care, some nursing and home health services and hospitalizations, it has increased by $72. The inpatient deductible required by enrollees for each hospital admission is now $1,556.For Part D coverage, which relates to prescription drugs, the deductibles, copays, and any other charges you’re required to pay for prescriptions will vary depending on your plan and where you live. If you live in North Carolina, our local and knowledgeable Medicare agents can help with any questions. However, it’s essential to realize that the federal government does have a cap on the Part D annual deductible. For this year, this cannot exceed $480.
In 2022, Medicare is increasing mental health services available via telehealth to help continue to address the increasing pressure many people are still experiencing as a result of Covid-19.New features provide specific mental and behavioral health services over the phone. This includes counseling and therapy services and treatment for substance abuse, especially in locations where access to high-speed internet is limited.Medicare is also providing coverage for mental health telehealth visits via rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers.
In 2022, anyone enrolled in Medicare plans North Carolina and any other state can sign up for an enhanced Part D plan that caps the cost of some insulins to $35 per month. This insulin program started in 2021, but it’s seen more plans become available this year. In fact, there are now 2,159 plans that have agreed to participate. Anyone enrolled in Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan can sign up for this program.
Although the majority of Medicare’s benefits will remain the same this year, some proposals are still up for debate which could mean changes to your coverage for next year. These include adding a hearing benefit, looking at proposals to reduce the price of prescription medicine, and capping your out-of-pocket costs for Part D prescription drug plans. Depending on Congress’s decisions, none of these will affect Medicare plans in North Carolina until next year. There’s been no mention of any changes to Medicare dental and vision coverage or any changes to Medicare supplement plans North Carolina so far.
If you live in North Carolina and have any questions about Medicare eligibility, don’t worry about searching online for ‘Medicare agents near me’ to find help. Instead, get in touch with our expert team. We can answer any questions about the different plans available and offer advice to access the best Medicare coverage in NC. Our Medicare agents North Carolina are dedicated to helping anyone living in NC. Call us today or compare plans online now.