I’m certain every retiree or retiree-to-be has heard that next year’s social security, cost-of-living increase is going to be the highest in thirty years at 5.9%. Before we all jump for joy, which I am certain we already did, the government just released yesterday that Medicare’s Part B Insurance co-pay for 2022 is going to go up a whopping 14.5% so any progress any one of us made, is now moot. The Part B co-pay is going to go from $148 a month (deducted right out of your monthly check before you can cash it) to $170 a month (depending on your annual income). If you’re rich (which nobody here is) you may have to pay over $500 a month but since no one we know is rich, this fact is unimportant.
So, what’s a retiree on Medicare supposed to do? I can’t tell you what to do but I can certainly tell you what I would do. First off, I have additional regular medicare extended coverage. I have Part D (drugs) which will cost me $25 starting January 1, 2022 (up from $17 a month). I have Medicare Plan K which covered 50% of the 20% I still have to pay of which regular medicare does not cover. In other words the insurance company pays 10% of what I ow and I pay the remaining 10% which total to the 20% all Medicare Insured have to pay. This will cost me $75 a month starting January 1, 2022 (up from $64). This makes a Grand Total of $100 a month I have to additionally pay with Regular Original Medicare ($148.50).
I decided to give a look at the new Medicare Advantage Plans everybody seems to be talking about (click here to find more info). With contentment and happiness I might add. The trick with the Advantage Plans is you have to basically stay within their network. They have PPOs and HMOs. Either way you get to choose your doctor from their list of approved physicians. Of course you can look to see if your regular doctor is included (mine are). These policies are free. Zero. Zilch. Nothing is due each month. The government pays off these insurance companies as a means of keeping medical costs down.
They do, however, have some policies that will cover doctors, nurses, medical facilities that are out of network, but you’ll have to pay. This is where I come in. I selected one of these policies, but one that will cover out of network docs paying 50% of the approved reduced Medicare cost. I’m only adding this on as a precaution because at times, hubby and I ravel around the country. Since basically, however, I mostly stay near home and all my doctors and meds are covered by this plan, I opted for the Medicare Advantage PPO plan at a cost to me of only $16 a month. I don’t need an additional Plan D.
The cost of my new Medicare coverage starting January 1, 2022 will save me $84 a month! In addition, the new plan will now cover preventative dental care, eye care, eye examinations with one frame with bifocal/progressive lenses, preventative hearing care as well as two hearing aids per year AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. (you can opt for better dental care for $40 more, but for now, I’m satisfied with the preventative coverage).
Here is a list of additional benefits Medicare Advantage Plans provide:
When it’s time for hubby to go on Medicare also (within the next few months) he’s going to opt for this plan also. I had originally calculated his Medicare plan to cost us a few hundred dollars ($217) per month, but @$16 per month, this is a very doable option. He already checked to see if his two specialty doctors were part of the Network and they are. This will save us thousands of dollars per month.
Another feature of this new Medicare Advantage plan is that they cover an approved gym membership, called Silver Sneakers. Hubs and I are going to see if we can find a mutual gym and schedule some time together getting in shape and feeling good.
In this horrific time of hyper inflation (the kiss of death to anyone on a Fixed Income) any little bit of heaven and savings is a welcome treat. I’m hoping these choices and new decisions over our health care works out. If not, we’ll go back to the Original Medicare Plans next go around next year. Till then, I’m getting my teeth cleaned, eyes checked next year (after just spending $310 on new lenses!!!!!!), my hearing checked out and hopefully join a gym (yoga please!!) I’m going to follow the plan to the letter and extract out of it all the good health care I deserve!
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