3 Important Changes to Medicare Advantage Plans in 2022
As Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans rise in popularity, each new year brings improvements to these policies. Here’s a rundown of the most important changes to Medicare plans in 2022 and how they could affect your choices for the upcoming Open Enrollment Period (OEP) starting January 1.
The History of Advantage Plans
Since 1997, seniors eligible for Medicare have been able to choose a privately-run Advantage Plan instead of Original Medicare. For nearly 25 years now, these plans have steadily increased their market share by including robust benefits like vision, dental, prescription drug coverage and access to over-the-counter items. In 2022, MA Plan membership is expected to reach 29.5 million over last year’s 26.9 million—a continuation of a trend in enrollment that’s more than doubled in the last ten years.
3 Biggest Changes to Medicare Advantage Plans in 2022
Advantage Plan providers are always looking for ways to offer more competitive rates and better options, and 2022 is no different. Here are the top three changes to Medicare Advantage plans in 2022.
#1. Non-medical supplemental benefits
One of the most significant increases is in the field of non-medical supplemental benefits. Specifically, meals, nutrition, transportation and in-home services. Of these, we’ll see the sharpest increase in in-home services and nutrition.
In-home services refer to benefits like personal assistance with medication, bathing or grooming, respite care for those recovering from surgery, or assistance with home modifications. In 2022, 62% of beneficiaries will have access to a plan with in-home services and a $0 premium. Less than half of beneficiaries had this option last year.
Nutrition benefits will also see a big rise in services like nutritional counseling, medical nutrition therapy (MNT) or obesity screenings. Next year, 89% of beneficiaries will have access to a $0 premium plan with nutrition benefits—an increase over last year when only 67% of people had this option.
#2. $0 Premiums
Even those who sign up for an Advantage Plan have to pay the Medicare Part B premium. And this premium is set to increase to $170.10 in 2022. But in 2022, 58% of beneficiaries will have access to a plan with $0 premiums compared with 53% in 2021. Additionally, the average monthly premium for all Advantage Plans in 2022 will only be $19, a decrease of two dollars from last year.
#3. Expanding coverage areas
MA Plan providers continue to expand their service areas to include seniors across the country. In 2022, providers like Humana will be expanding into the rural regions of North Carolina and Cigna will be offering plans in Oregon, Washington and Connecticut—all in response to consumer demand and in the hopes of reaching more clients.
2022 Changes to Medicare Advantage Plans
This is the time of year to evaluate your medical needs and speak with your agent to determine the best-fit Medicare coverage for you. Every year, Advantage Plan providers are upping their game by offering more of what you’ve been asking for—lower prices, expanded benefits and availability in more locations.
Only a few days are left in the Annual Enrollment Period (Oct 15th through Dec 7th). But OEP starts January 1st and lasts until March 31st. So now is the perfect time to research new options for Advantage Plans. During this time, if you’re already on an MA Plan you can switch to another that may better meet your needs.
Questions about what plans are available in your area? Or whether or not these new changes in Medicare Advantage Plans are accessible to you? Contact your Medicare agent or call us at 877.255.6273 for more information.
image credit: shutterstock/Billion Photos