Updated: Oct 12, 2021
The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Beneficiaries is almost upon us. You can tell by the increased number of commercials and your stuffed mailbox and possibly an uptick in calls to your landline or cellphone.
The Annual Enrollment Period begins October 15th and runs through December 7th. On October 1st you can begin to view the new plans that will be offered for a January 1st effective day. But there are a few caveats you need to know.
As of today, September 17th, 2021, we cannot tell you exactly how much your Part B premium will be for 2022 because it has not been announced officially. This is an important factor in choosing a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan (remember, if Medicare covered everything, there would be no need to these plans).
For those folks who are going to become eligible for Medicare in 2022, depending upon your situation (the delay of Part B or Low Income Subsidy level), you need to know that your 2020 tax return will be used to determine your Part B premium for one year until the income is re-evaluated (more information here). This is called Medicare Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount otherwise known as IRMAA. When you get your award letter your premium for Part B (and if you have a premium for Part A) will be listed.
If your situation is such that your income significantly was reduced since your 2020 return, you can petition Medicare for a premium reduction. IRMAA is calculated every year. There are several levels of IRMAA that you can review on Medicare.gov.
The lowest Part B premium for 2021 is $148.50. It is estimated to be $234.00 in 2029 per Congressional Research Service (visit here) and that is before the higher premium IRMAA kicks in for those who have higher incomes.
Why are we talking about this? Because we want you to know that there are many factors that go into choosing a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan. It is important that you know what your Part B premium is before you choose your final plan. Unfortunately, it appears we will not know what the 2022 Part B premium is until possibly November 2021, in the middle of the Annual Enrollment Period!
It does seem strange that a larger than normal percentage of Part B premium increase will be revealed in November and it may cause some difficulty for some folks however remember in October the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) will be announced. Hopefully the COLA will cover most if not all of the Part B premium increase.
On October 1st, we will be here to answer your questions just as we are every day of each year. Please call us with your questions because we can give you a preview of several plans at one time instead of you calling each carrier. We can tell you what Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B cover and how the products differentiate themselves to fill in those gaps.
Did you know that we have a free downloadable Medicare checklist where we recommend questions to ask your insurance broker and suggest things to bring with you to your meeting? Learn more about how to download your checklist here.