If you are turning 65 or beginning your Medicare benefits in 2022, there are a few things you will want to know before they start. When to apply for Medicare, how much Medicare costs, what Medicare covers, and the additional plans you may need are among those things. Here is your guide on what you need to know as you get to know Medicare in 2022.
#1 – When to Apply for Medicare
Every Medicare-eligible person will have an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) window to apply for Medicare Part A and Part B. The IEP window is based on your 65th birthday month. It starts three months before your 65th birthday month and ends three months after for a total of seven months. When you apply the three months before, your benefits will start the 1st of your 65th birthday month. However, if you apply in the three months that follow your birthday month, your benefits could be delayed.
How to Apply for Medicare
If you receive Social Security benefits for at least four months before your 65th birthday month, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. However, if you are not receiving Social Security benefits, you can apply for Medicare Part A and Part B in several ways. You can apply through the Social Security website, call a Social Security office, or visit one in person.
Working Past 65
More and more seniors are working past 65. If you or your spouse actively work for a large employer with more than 20 employees, covered by that insurance, you can delay all parts of Medicare. You would not be penalized since large employer insurance is creditable for Medicare.
However, if there are fewer than 20 employees, the coverage is not creditable for Medicare. Therefore, you need to enroll in Part A and Part B during your IEP to avoid a late enrollment penalty.
#2 – Your Medicare Premiums
Before your Medicare benefits begin, you will want to know how much you will be paying. Most people qualify for premium-free Part A. If you worked at least 40 quarters in the U.S. and paid into the Medicare tax, then you will qualify for premium-free Part A. However, if you worked less than 40 quarters, you could pay $274 or $499 depending on the number of quarters you worked.
Although Part A may be free, everyone must pay for Part B. The standard monthly base premium for Part B is $170.10 in 2022. This number can change each year. Additionally, if you are a high-income earner, you could be subject to an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). This means you will pay more than the standard premium for Part B.
#3 – What Medicare Covers
Understanding what Medicare covers will shed some light on what services you will have coverage for and which ones you won’t. Medicare Part A provides coverage for inpatient hospital stays, home health care, skilled nursing facility care, and hospice care. There is a $1,556 deductible in 2022 and cost-sharing with Part A.
Medicare Part B will help cover outpatient medical services such as doctor visits, physical therapy, surgeries, treatment, and more. The Part B annual deductible in 2022 is $233, and once you satisfy the deductible, Medicare only covers 80% of the costs for your Part B services.
What Medicare Does Not Cover
Original Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover all medical-related services. Services such as routine dental, vision, hearing, long-term care, prescriptions, and foreign travel are not covered by Original Medicare. You would want to enroll in a standalone plan for coverage for those services.
#4 – The Additional Plans You May Need
Aside from the standalone plans for the services not covered by Medicare, you will also want to consider enrolling in a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan to help with your costs for services that Medicare does cover. There is no limit on your expenses when you have Original Medicare, and therefore, you may want to enroll in a plan that helps with those costs.
A Medicare Supplement plan will be secondary to Original Medicare and will help cover deductibles, copays, and coinsurance after Medicare pays first. However, the Advantage plan will be different. When you enroll in an Advantage plan, you choose to receive your Medicare benefits through that plan. Medicare will sit on the back burner as they pay your Advantage plan monthly to provide you with benefits. Both of these plans help you with your cost-sharing.
Starting with the basics is a great place to begin! Learning Medicare and wrapping your head around the different options can take time. However, know, you are not alone! Medicare experts can help you through this transition and provide you with the necessary information as you begin your Medicare journey.