The Biggest Medicare Changes in 2022

Medicare Changes in 2022

Medicare has changed a lot in the past year, and you might need a primer to help you understand the differences in your coverage. Many seniors receive health care coverage under Medicare, as the governmental insurance program provides benefits for people with disabilities and adults over the age of sixty-five. 

Understanding your health care coverage is an integral part of your overall care, but it can be confusing to figure out what exactly has changed and why.

Why Medicare Has Changed

Medicare makes changes once a year. You receive information about these changes in an Annual Notice of Change, which Medicare usually sends out in the fall. Once you review the Annual Notice of Change, you can decide if you want to make changes to your own Medicare coverage during the Open Enrollment period, which lasts from October 15 to December 7. Any changes you make to your plan go into effect on January 1. 

A few different factors were at play regarding Medicare changes for the year 2022. These changes were likely a reflection of rising costs as a result of COVID-19, a potential new medication for Alzheimer’s called Aduhelm, and the fact that a 2020 bill capped the Part B premium increase for 2021. 

Talk of changes for Medicare in 2023 includes:

  • Decreased prescription drug costs
  • Capped out-of-pocket expenses in Part D plans
  • Addition of a hearing benefit

If these changes are approved, the Annual Notice of Change will announce them in the fall of 2022 and they will go into effect on January 1, 2023. 

The Biggest Changes to Medicare in 2022

Below, you’ll read about the biggest changes that took effect in your Medicare health plan for 2022. Some of these changes will affect you more than others, but it’s important that you stay up to date with changes in your healthcare plan.

Part B Premium Increase

Let’s start with potentially the biggest change of all: higher Part B premiums. These increases will affect any Part B beneficiaries. Medicare Part B refers to outpatient hospital services, durable medical equipment, physician services, select home health services, and other health and medical services that Part A does not cover. The Social Security Act regulates the annual Part B coinsurance, deductible, and premium rates. 

In 2022, Part B members will see an increase to $170.10 for the standard monthly premium. This is an increase of $21.60 from last year’s standard monthly premium of $148.50. 

Why did the Part B standard monthly premium increase? There are a few contributing factors:

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services prioritized the potential use of Aduhelm, the latest in Alzheimer’s treatment drugs, and money from the Part B increase will help[1]. Aduhelm’s initial price was $56,000 per year. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services increased the Part B premium, and that pushed health advocates to question Biogen, Aduhelm’s manufacturer, on the drug’s cost. Ultimately, that pressure led Biogen to slash Aduhelm’s yearly cost to $28,200. Health advocates still maintain that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should lower the Part B premium cost, as well.
  • The global COVID-19 pandemic has put undue strain on the healthcare system. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing[2]. The increases in Part B standard monthly premiums reflect a spending spike due in part to pandemic-related costs.
  • Congress’s initial response to the pandemic included a decrease in the 2021 Part B standard monthly premium. However, lawmakers pushed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to start paying back in 2022 what was lost from that reduced premium in 2021. 

Higher Deductibles

Both Medicare Part A and Part B will increase deductibles. Medicare Part A refers to hospice care, hospitalizations, and select home health and nursing facility services. In 2022, Part A beneficiaries will need to pay an inpatient deductible of $1,556. This number is $72 higher than the 2021 deductible of $1,484. Additionally, Part B enrollees will now have a $233 annual deductible, a $30 increase from 2021’s $203 annual deductible.

The Part D prescription drug coverage is different based on where you live and which plan you choose, including what kind of co-pays, deductibles and other charges you might have to pay. The government limited the Part D deductible for 2022 at $480.

Additional Support for those Needing Insulin

In 2022, Medicare beneficiaries in each state can choose to enroll in a Part D plan that helps cover insulin costs. This is an Innovation Center model in which more supportive prescription drug plans cover insulin costs for people who are not low-income subsidy beneficiaries. Those who opt into this plan will pay a monthly $35 copayment in the initial coverage, coverage gap, and deductible phases. Medicare and Medicare Advantage enrollees are allowed to sign up for this coverage plan.

Telehealth Improvements

Medicare will increase telehealth coverage for 2022, specifically regarding mental health services. The COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to attend in-person doctors’ appointments. Though not all appointments function effectively via telehealth, mental health services have translated particularly well to the telehealth-sphere[3]. This increase in telehealth coverage will hopefully make mental health services and other health services more widely accessible. Telehealth is also an important tool for some people who are disabled or live in rural areas. Boosting telehealth coverage offers patients a new way to connect with their care team under varying circumstances.

Medical Alert Systems—Not Covered, But Essential for Seniors Aging in Place

A medical alert system is not covered by Medicare, but it is an essential tool for elderly adults who have chosen to age in place. A PERS device, or button alarm, supports seniors in the goal to live independently at home for as long as possible. The CDC reported that, in 2019, falls caused over 34,000 deaths for adults over the age of sixty-five. Not all falls are fatal, but 20% of falls cause a major injury, including head injuries and broken bones. In fact, seniors pay approximately $50 billion each year in fall-related medical costs. Medicare and Medicaid cover about 70% of that total number. 

Falls can be a big concern for seniors. Sometimes, seniors who have fallen develop a fear of falling again, and they reduce their daily activities as a result. Using a medical alert pendant, wristband, or watch can give you the confidence to live your life more fully. Using an emergency button for seniors ensures you receive an immediate response, 24/7/365, if you fall or experience any time of emergency at all—medical or otherwise.

Best of all, Alert1 medical alerts start at under $20 a month for unlimited button presses and 24/7 coverage. Alert1 has some of the best prices on emergency alert systems for seniors, which is important since Medicare does not cover this important safety device.

Picking the Best Medical Alert System for You

Adjusting to the changes in your Medicare plan might take a while. However, other healthcare additions are easier to incorporate into your everyday routine. Here’s a quick guide to picking out the right medical alert system for your lifestyle, needs, and budget:

1.       Determine your daily activity level and when you’ll be wearing your medical alert system. The In-Home + On-the-Go + Fall Detection option covers all of your bases– both in and out of your home. You can choose from just In-Home or On-the-Go options, as well.

2.       Decide if you want to wear your medical alert system as a lanyard, bracelet, belt clip, or wrist watch. This decision will help narrow down which medical alert system is right for you. An On-the-Go Wrist Watch Medical Alert + GPS + Pedometer looks just like a sports watch, but it provides you with peace of mind and protection. 

3.       Figure out your price point. Alert1 offers various payment plans to make it as easy as possible for members to enjoy coverage. Also, members can send unlimited button alerts, so they never pay for multiple button pushes or “false alarms.” 

4.       Choose your medical alert system and feel more comfortable, confident, and protected!

Bonus tip: fall detection technology is a helpful addition to your medical alert system. Using this technology, your medical alert system can sense when you fall and automatically send an alert. You will get the support you need even if you cannot press the button on your medical alert system yourself. 

Once you start wearing your alert pendant or bracelet, you’re just one press of a button away from a 24/7 Command Center staffed with certified and trained agents. In the event of an emergency, one of these agents will stay on the line with you until emergency responders or family, friends, or neighbors arrive. You determine the order in which we contact people and how they should be contacted. This Circle of Care gives you control over communication at the time of an emergency. 

Even if you cannot speak after an alert is sent, our Alert1 Command Center agents will make sure you get the help you need, fast.

Healthcare is a cornerstone to maintaining your health. While you don’t have control over Medicare plans and how they might change each year, you can still make impactful choices for your care plan. A medical alert system is a practical, easy, and affordable addition to your well-being.







[1] Cubanski, Juliette. 2022, Jan. 14. Medicare’s Coverage Decision for the New Alzheimer’s Drug and Why it Matters. Kaiser Family Foundation. Medicare’s Coverage Decision for the New Alzheimer’s Drug and Why it Matters.

[2] Office of the Actuary. 2021, Dec. 15. National Health Spending in 2020 Increases due to Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. National Health Spending in 2020 Increases due to Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic.

[3] Macmillan, Carrie. 2021, Sept. 16. Why Telehealth for Mental Health Care is Working. Yale Medicine. Why Telehealth for Mental Health Care is Working.