The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have released estimates for 2022 Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Part D drug plan premiums, along with other important financial details like their deductibles. Once again, CMS is predicting lower average premiums for Medicare Advantage plans, continuing a years-long streak. Along with this positive financial news, CMS announced a significant growth in enrollment, plan options, and benefits compared to last year!

We’ll be breaking down each bit of news for you, along with what costs you can expect in 2022.

Information in this article can be found in the “CMS Releases 2022 Premiums and Cost-Sharing Information for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans” and “CMS Releases 2022 Projected Medicare Part D Average Premium” press releases or in a previous year’s reporting, unless specifically linked elsewhere. This announcement comes weeks before the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) kicks off, giving you plenty of time to begin exploring enrollment options.

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

In 2022, the average Medicare Advantage premium will be an estimated 10.5 percent lower, going from $21.22 per month in 2021 to $19. With last year’s average already the lowest since 2007, the average premiums dropping below $20 makes Part C plans an attractive option when it comes to hunting for a Medicare plan. You can find in-depth plan information — like deductibles, MOOP limits, and more — by going to the CMS.gov Prescription Drug Coverage – General Information page, downloading the 2022 landscape files for MA (Medicare Advantage), PDP (Part D prescription), and SNP (Special Needs Plans), and finding your state in the files. Or, you can go to Medicareful.com and type your zip code into the plan finder to see Medicare plans available in your area and directly compare plan details in the program.

In 2022, the average Medicare Advantage premium will be $19 while enrollment numbers are expected to smash the previous record.

Also of note — according to CMS’ press release, Medicare Advantage enrollment is expected to smash the previous record of 26.9 million beneficiaries last year by climbing to 29.5 million beneficiaries. Along with the additional benefits that most Part C plans offer, 25 percent of plans (up from 19 percent in 2021) will offer supplemental coverage for individuals with chronic illnesses. Additionally, people who qualify for a Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) will have 295 plans to choose from, up from 256 in 2021.

Medicare Part D

Like last year, we’ll see a moderate increase in the average premium for Medicare Part D plans in 2022. It’s projected to increase 4.9 percent, going up to $33 from $31.47 last year. Don’t get too worried, though. The 2019 average Part D premium of $30 per month was the lowest in the previous seven years. Just like with Medicare Advantage, you can find Part D plan information on the CMS.gov Prescription Drug coverage plan page by downloading the 2022 PDP landscape file. You can also see Part D plans in your area by going to Medicareful.com and searching with your zip code!

While Medicare Part D is projected to see an increase in average premiums to $33, the test run of the Part D Senior Savings Model will continue with the hopes of expansion should the tests be successful.

CMS is planning to continue its Part D Senior Savings Model test run in more than 2,100 plans, to increase the access and affordability of insulin for beneficiaries. This number includes 500 new Medicare Advantage and Part D plans for 2022, and there are two new pharmaceutical manufacturers of insulin joining the program. The hope is that this program, along with a series of executive orders to reduce drug costs and protect against price gouging, will continue to drive down drug costs for seniors and beneficiaries.

What This Means for Your Plans

With all this new information, the important question becomes — what does it mean for you? It could mean that your premium prices go down if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or go up slightly if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan, and it also could mean nothing at all to you. It’s important to remember that these costs are only averages; individual plans have the freedom to set their own premiums, with some potentially having higher premiums, and others having lower or even $0 premiums! Your specific plans will have their own premiums and costs associated with them. If you’re looking at your Medicare options this AEP, and we suggest you do, you should compare costs and coverage options directly since each plan can differ.

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This AEP, you’ll have plenty of options worth keeping an eye on. While the 2022 costs of Medicare Parts A and B haven’t been announced yet, it’s anticipated they’ll be announced soon. Be sure to check back in with us, because as soon as we have that information, we’ll share it with you! Until then, if you have any questions about Medicare or wish to speak with a licensed insurance agent, reach out through Medicareful.