What Are the Changes to Medicare in 2022?

As an imperative federal health insurance program, it’s crucial to comprehend the key changes to Medicare in 2022. Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15 and extends until December 7, 2021. During that period, seniors can join the Medicare Advantage Plan or a drug plan.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the 2022 deductibles, premiums, and other essential information. With knowledge of the new updates, Medicare enrollees can select a coverage that suits them.

Coverage of COVID-19 Items and Services

Most seniors with Medicare are at high risks of contracting the coronavirus. For this reason, the Department of Health and Human Services covers COVID-19 items and services. Before making a decision, it’s imperative to speak to a doctor for proper recommendations.

COVID-19 Vaccines

The administration of FDA-authorized vaccines reduces seniors’ risk of contracting the coronavirus. The vaccines work with the body’s natural defence system to develop immunity or guard against the virus.

With Medicare, there’s no requirement to pay for these vaccines. However, individuals will need a Medicare card to receive the vaccine, even if enrolled in the Medicare Advantage Plan.

Diagnostic Tests

An FDA-authorized diagnostic test is to check for an individual’s COVID-19 status. It typically requires a sample of mucus from the throat or nose for diagnostic testing.

There’s no obligation to pay for these tests when it’s from a pharmacy, doctor, laboratory, or hospital. Seniors can also benefit from free diagnostic tests when Medicare covers the test in an accessible area.

Antibody Tests

Less common than the others, the antibody tests check if an individual has developed an immune response to the virus. These FDA-approved tests confirm whether a senior is at immediate risk of getting reinfected.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Medicare covers the antibody tests.

Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

For seniors with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 and that test positive, monoclonal antibody treatments help fight the illness. When the treatment is from a Medicare provider or supplier, there’s no obligation to make payments.

Note that coverage for monoclonal antibody treatments and similar solutions may change when the COVID-19 public emergency ends.

Coverage of Cognitive Assessment and Care Plan Services

Cognitive assessment helps doctors and other health providers test for cognitive impairment. The medical practitioner looks out for certain signs of the condition like problems learning new things or difficulty concentrating. Delirium, anxiety, and depression are also connected to cognitive impairment. As such, it’s imperative to speak to a doctor for proper assessment.

Medicare helps cover a one-time visit to the individual’s regular doctor for a full review of their cognitive function. The purpose of the visit is to confirm a diagnosis for conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in order to develop a suitable care plan. It’s advisable to bring along a loved one or trusted individual to help provide the necessary information.

The events that may occur during a visit are:

  • Intense examination and review of medications and medical history;
  • Creation of an appropriate care plan to manage symptoms;
  • Development of advance care plan;
  • Referral to a specialist, and;
  • Sensitization, including details about rehabilitation, support groups, or adult day health programs.

Coverage of New Screening Tests for Colorectal Cancer

The Department of Health and Human Services via Medicare helps cover various screening tests. To help doctors find precancerous growths early, screening tests are imperative. Medicare covers the following screening tests:

  • Barium enema;
  • Colonoscopies;
  • Fecal occult blood tests;
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopies, and;
  • Multi-target stool DNA tests.

On top of these screening tests, Medicare will also be covering blood-based biomarker tests come 2022. According to the official 2022 Medicare handbook, Medicare helps cover the biomarker tests once every three years. Note that there are some requirements for the coverage, which include:

  • Age should be between 50 to 85;
  • The individuals shows no visible signs of colorectal disease, and;
  • They are at average risk of developing colorectal cancer.

If the licensed doctor accepts to take the tests, seniors don’t have an obligation to pay for the blood-based biomarker test.

Possible Price Increase

Compared to Medicare rates in 2021, there will be a significant price increase in 2022. Some of these cost changes include:

Increase in Deductible for Medicare Part A

Projected increment in cost is approximately $1,556 from $1,484 in 2021. The insurance covers up to two months in the hospital and operates per benefit period.

Medigap plans and other supplemental coverage will help pay some or all of the Medicare Part A deductible.

Increase in Deductibles for Medicare Part B

From $198 in 2020 and $203 in 2021, the projected rate for 2022 is $217. Seniors who get the Part B covered treatment in the year need to pay the deductible before Medicare picks up 80 percent of the care’s cost.

Rise in Cost for the Part B Premium

According to the projected Medicare Trustees Report, there may be an increase in cost from $148.50 to $158.50 per month. High-income seniors pay more for their Part B premium. It begins at $88,000 for individuals and $176,000 for couples.

In 2022, the projected increase for high-income ranges from $91,000 for an individual to $182,000 for a couple.

Expected Rise in Medicare Part D

CMS projects a change in Medicare Part D from $31.47 in 2021 to $33 in 2022. In percentages, it’s a 4.9 percent projected increase in the average basic monthly premiums.

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