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Big Increase in Medicare Premiums, Cost Sharing

The Medicare Annual Election Period just ended, and chances are that you got an earful from clients about next year’s Medicare Part B premium. While the amount consumers pay for Medicare Part B goes up every year, the 2022 increase is unusually large—about 15 percent.

Lots of Competition Among Medicare Advantage Plans

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Medicare Advantage is a huge opportunity for agents. Nearly every senior over the age of 65 has health insurance, the majority through the federal Medicare program. And, among the Medicare population, 42 percent have coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan according to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

CMS Fact Sheet Helps Clients Determine Whether to Enroll in Medicare

The annual election period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans began on October 15, and with more people working past age 65, you may run into some individuals who are trying to determine whether they should sign up for Medicare or stay on their employer-sponsored health plan. To help them make that decision, CMS has created a checklist-style “Fact Sheet” that you may want to share with them.

Medicare Provides Relief for Many Seniors

Nobody likes getting older. In fact, many of us dread our birthdays, reasoning that there’s nothing to look forward to after age 21. At 40 we’re “over the hill”; at 50 we get our invitation to join AARP; and at 62 we’re eligible for Social Security, which would be nice if it wasn’t also referred to as “Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance.”

Dental and Vision Coverage Could Be Added to Medicare

It’s far from a done deal, but the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill Democrats in Congress hope to pass could expand Medicare to include dental and vision coverage. As Fierce Healthcare explains, “an expansion of benefits for Medicare has been a longtime priority for Democrats and Schumer, who tweeted in June that the lack of those benefits leaves a ‘gaping hole’ in Medicare coverage.”

Part A Coverage Is Retroactive If You Sign Up After Age 65

You probably know about the initial enrollment period for Medicare. It starts three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and continues for three months after your birthday month. But did you know that you can actually sign up for premium-free Medicare Part A “any time during or after your Initial Enrollment Period starts” and that the coverage is backdated if you sign up after you turn 65? Here’s what the website says:

CMS transition to new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier is complete

As AHCP first reported nearly two years ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been working to replace everyone’s Medicare card and assign them a new Medicare number, known as a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). As of January 1, 2020, that process is complete and CMS will no longer process claims that are submitted with the old number.

Plan F no longer an option for new Medicare beneficiaries

As a reminder, Medicare supplement plan F is no longer an option for new Medicare enrollees. Anyone aging into or signing up for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020, will not be able to purchase a Plan F Medigap plan. Plan C is also being eliminated as an option for new enrollees.

Although Mostly Closed, the Donut Hole is Still an Issue for Consumers

A recent Boston Herald article describes the trouble that some seniors have paying for prescriptions in the Medicare coverage gap, commonly referred to as the “donut hole.” The article tells the story of Judith Pais, who ran out of her medication in November and had to wait until the new year to purchase her prescriptions because the cost of her medications had “skyrocketed” from $120 per month to more than $500 after she entered her Part D plan’s coverage gap.

Renewing As Is – Medicare Consumers are Staying Put

The fourth quarter is a stressful time. Not only do brokers have to deal with the same year-end stuff as everyone else, like getting ready for the holidays, it’s also the busy time of the year in the insurance industry. And that’s true whether you sell group, individual, or Medicare products.

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