Medicare is federally funded health insurance for seniors over age 65. You may qualify for the program if you are younger with qualifying disabilities (some end-stage diseases may qualify you as well).
Administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, this program is like the Social Security entitlement program. If you are a U.S. citizen paying taxes for a set time, you are eligible.
The Four Parts:
Part A: provides hospital insurance
Part B: provides medical and preventative health care coverage
Together, Part A and Part B are known as Original Medicare.
Part C: Known as Medicare Advantage, this part provides the same benefits as Original Medicare, but is offered privately and can include hearing, eye, and dental coverage.
Part D: provide optional prescription coverage and is provided by private companies.
Both Part C and Part D are government regulated.
You will qualify for Medicare if you are 65 years or older. If you are younger with a qualifying disability or end-stage disease, you may also receive Medicare. Remember if you are first applying for enrollment, there is a specific 7-month window before you 65th birthday to sign up. Always make sure you are enrolled in Part A and Part B. If you qualify for Part B and do not enroll on time, you will be subject to penalties for as long as you are enrolled that will be additional to your regular monthly premiums.
Important Notes to Remember:
You cannot enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or buy a Medigap supplement policy if you are not enrolled in both Part A and Part B.
It is best to begin looking into Medicare plans and coverage at age 64 so you know what is best for your needs and budget.
New to Medicare in 2022
Beginning in 2022, Part B premiums will increase $21.60 to $170.10. Factors to impact this rise are rising health care prices and related COVID-19 care and staff. In response to the pandemic in 2021, Congress lowered the Part B premiums as they were scheduled to increase drastically. So, to cut cost and help the public out, they kept the prices lower. This is the biggest factor as to why Part B premiums drastically increase in 2022.
Deductibles are also rising to $233 from $203. Even Part A deductibles are increasing by $72 to $1556. For Part D, the government capped the deductible at $480, but they may vary based on the drugs needed and copays.
In good news, enhanced Part D is being offered to help cover insulin costs. While this plan began in 2021, more are allowed to enroll in 2022 for this Part D benefit.
Continuing the good news, Medicare coverage is being extended in the telehealth dynamic by welcoming coverage for mental health services via telehealth.
For more information on Medicare, please visit www.medicare.gov and www.medicarecompareUSA.com. Want to hear more information instead? Go listen to our The Retirement Risk episode 4, “Understanding the Complexity of Medicare with Alex Sieler.”