Check out Jeremy’s latest podcast on Medicare insurance by listening on “Apple Podcasts” or “Google Podcasts” or read below for Understanding Medicare and You 2022 (The Official U.S. Government Handbook).
#73 – Every year, the U.S. government publishes a booklet outlining everything you need to know about Medicare insurance.
If you’re about to enroll in Medicare, are already a plan participant, or wish to help someone else (like your parents), you should definitely check out “Medicare and You 2022.”
It has a lot of important information that you don’t want to miss!
In part two of this series on Medicare, Jeremy Keil highlights the key takeaways from this 128-page government handbook on Medicare, with a special focus on things that are newly added in 2022.
- New test services and assessments that are covered in 2022
- Medicare-related terms and definitions you should know about
- A simplified explanation for all 10 sections of the “Medicare and You 2022” handbook
- Helpful Medicare resources other than the handbook
- And more
Understanding Medicare and You 2022 (The Official U.S. Government Handbook)
What’s New and Important for 2022?
As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, Medicare has expanded its coverage to cover various tests and services related to COVID-19, such as vaccines, antibody tests, and more.
There is also a new cognitive assessment & care plan introduced under Medicare coverage, which helps you detect early signs of cognitive impairment. You can now have a separate visit for a complete cognitive assessment and develop a care plan if needed.
If you’re worried about the declining health of you or your parents, the new cognitive assessment service is worth looking into.
Finally, you also have access to a blood-based biomarker test for screening colorectal cancer. If you dread undergoing a colonoscopy, consider utilizing the biomarker test first.
The Different Parts of Medicare
Medicare insurance consists of three parts: Part A, Part B, and Part D.
- Medicare Part A refers to hospital insurance. The primary services covered include inpatient care in hospitals, hospice care, and nursing facilities. Once you turn 65, you’ll be automatically enrolled into Part A, and it’s free!
- Medicare Part B (medical insurance) primarily covers outpatient care. Unlike Part A, it is paid insurance ($170.10 per month in 2022).
- Medicare Part D helps you cover the costs of prescription drugs. Insurance companies can change their coverage every year. Make sure to review your Part D coverage every year.
Important note: If you’re using the older version of Medicare cards with your Social Security number on it, you need to get the newer, more secure version. To protect your Social Security information, Medicare now generates random numbers on their new cards.
Understanding the 10 Sections From the Handbook
“Medicare and You 2022” is a very comprehensive handbook with 128 pages and 10 sections. Let’s briefly discuss the key points from each section:
1. Signing Up
If you’re not sure how to sign up for the different parts of Medicare, page 15 of the handbook explains it all. However, pay extra attention to the following nuances.
You don’t “have to” sign up for Medicare at 65. You’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B if you have signed up for Social Security. But you still have the option of delaying your Part B coverage!
If you or your spouse are actively employed, you might be already covered under a group health insurance plan. So, you can consider delaying paying Part B premiums. If you’re not covered through a plan from active employment (COBRA, retirement health insurance, or the Veterans Administration don’t count) and you still delay Part B, you’ll be subject to a penalty.
The start date of your Medicare coverage is the first day of your birthday month. For instance, if your birthday falls on March 20th, your coverage will begin on March 1st.
We often help our clients sign up for Medicare. We’ve done it for nearly 100 clients already. So, it’s safe to say that we know our way around the signup process!
2. Is Your Test or Service Covered Under Medicare?
In general, Medicare covers almost everything except vision, dental, hearing, and long-term care coverage. Follow the handbook for more specific coverage information.
Now, you might feel concerned about not having vision and dental coverage. After all, you’ve had it all your life!
In our opinion, you shouldn’t worry much about not having vision and dental coverage. Now that your employer doesn’t cover it for you, it can be really expensive for you as an individual. When you run the numbers, you’ll find that your claim benefits and premium costs are nearly the same. In other words, it’s similar to a prepaid plan.
Don’t confuse Medicare with Medicaid, which actually covers long-term care costs. Medicaid is only available as an aid by the government to those with lower incomes.
3. Original Medicare
The original Medicare plan only covers 80% of your total costs (after deductibles). So, if you’re only enrolled in the original Medicare plan, the remaining 20% will be an out-of-pocket expense for you.
4. Medicare Advantage
The Medicare Advantage plan offers a wide variety of benefits in addition to your Part A and B coverage. It is a great way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
5. Medicare Supplement
The Medicare Supplement plan, also known as Medigap, helps you pay the deductibles and the remaining 20% not covered by the original, in exchange for an additional premium.
We discuss Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement in more detail in our previous blog: 5 Things To Know Before Enrolling for Medicare.
6. Drug Coverage (Part D)
Just like Part B, there can be a penalty for signing up late for Medicare Part D. As you’re not automatically enrolled, you have to be careful to sign up for Part D in time.
Even if you don’t have any prescription drugs right now, you’ll still need to sign up for Part D at 65. Why? Because it’s a type of insurance and you can’t sign up right after you start incurring the drug costs!
Alternatively, you can enroll in the SeniorCare Prescription Drug Assistance Program available in Wisconsin. With a minimal cost of only $30 per year, it qualifies as creditable coverage. You can switch to Part D later if needed.
7. Get Help Paying Your Health & Drug Costs
If your annual income is less than $20,000 (or less than $26,000 as a married couple) and your assets are less than $15,000 (or less than $30,000 as a married couple), you can get extra help to pay for your health and drug costs.
Hopefully, a lot of people won’t need it, but if someone you know could use this extra help, share this information with them!
8. Protect Yourself From Fraud
There are billions of dollars being spent on Medicare. That’s why a lot of people try to defraud Medicare by getting its plan participants to purchase unnecessary tests and coverages.
Look out for such frauds. There are some great tips in the handbook on how you can be more vigilant.
9. Helpful Resources
This section of the handbook provides additional information and resources where you can learn more about Medicare.
If you want to make yourself aware of the terminology used in Medicare, check out this last section of the handbook which lays out the key definitions.
Don’t forget to check out the resources below to learn more about Medicare insurance!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to assist you!
- Medicare and You 2022 (The Official U.S. Government Medicare Handbook)
- 5 Things To Know Before Enrolling for Medicare
- SeniorCare Prescription Drug Assistance Program
- Medicare Plan Finder
- Medicare What’s Covered Website
- Medicare What’s Covered App on Apple
- Medicare What’s Covered App on Google Play
- Get Started With Medicare
- “Welcome to Medicare” Preventive Visit
- Medicare: Joining a health or drug plan
- 3 Things You Should Know Before Choosing A Financial Advisor
- 6 Questions Retirees Aren’t Asking But Should Be
- Subscribe to Retirement Revealed on Google Podcasts
- Subscribe to Retirement Revealed on Apple Podcasts
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