The 2022 Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) is less than two months away, beginning on October 15 and running through December 7, 2021. During this time, you can change your Medicare coverage. You can choose a new Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, switch between Original Medicare (Parts A and B only) and MA or change your Part D coverage. If you are thinking about Medicare Advantage in 2022, here are three things you should know ahead of the 2022 AEP.
1. Medicare Advantage enrollees report higher rates of consumer satisfaction, health outcomes and affordability than those with Original Medicare.
Enrolling in an MA plan can help save you money and lead to better health outcomes. The 2021 “State of Medicare Advantage” report from the Better Medicare Alliance found the following:
- A 98% overall satisfaction rate among MA benefits with their coverage
- A 97% overall satisfaction rate with MA plan’s provider network
- 41% and 15% fewer acute and chronic hospitalizations compared to Original Medicare
- Lower average annual individual spending with annual costs savings of $1,640, 40% lower than Original Medicare
2. Medicare Advantage plans can offer supplemental benefits not offered under original Medicare, including benefits for those with chronic conditions.
Good news for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions! One of the most recent updates from CMS related to supplemental benefits was the ability of MA plans to offer Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI) as of 2020. Adoption of SSBCI was very limited in its first year, says the Commonwealth Fund, but look for more plans to offer these benefits for the 2022 plan year.
3. Medicare Advantage enrollment has doubled over the last decade.
More and more people over the age of 65 are choosing to enroll in an MA plan over Original Medicare or Original Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement (MedSupp) plan. Recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that this year, more than 26 million people are enrolled in an MA plan, equaling 42 percent of the total Medicare population.
Original Medicare does leave pretty significant gaps in your healthcare coverage, including no out-of-pocket maximum, meaning one hospital stay could cost you thousands. Original Medicare also does not include prescription drug coverage, dental benefits, vision benefits, hearing aids and other additional supplemental benefits.
As a Medicare Advantage plan sponsor, Aspire Health Plan offers Monterey County’s only Medicare Advantage plan. Check back with us again in October for AEP to see our new plan offerings for 2022 when it is time to make your choice.