Medicare Premiums to Rise in 2022

Medicare premiums are going up in 2022. The following reprint from the newsletter of the RC 43 – Teacher Retirees in Florida explains why.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said on November 12, 2021 that the standard monthly Part B premium for next year will be $170.10. That’s an increase of 14.5%, or $21.60, from 2021. The annual Part B deductible will be $233, an increase of $30 from 2021.

The increases were due in part to rising health care costs and higher utilization of health care services, Medicare said. Medicare beneficiaries potentially being prescribed the Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, which was approved by he Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, was also to blame, Medicare said. Aduhelm’s price tag – $56,000 per person each year – has been criticized and has raised questions about the strain it would put on Medicare’s finances.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in June that if just a quarter of the 2 million beneficiaries who were prescribed an Alzheimer’s treatment under Part D in 2017 took Aduhelm, it would cost Medicare $29 billion in one year. To put that into perspective, Medicare spent $37 billion on all Part B drugs in 2019, KFF said.

Since Aduhelm must be administered by a doctor, it is covered under Part B and not under a prescription drug plan. Medicare started a National Coverage Determination in July to determine whether and how the agency would cover the treatment and other similar Alzheimer’s drugs.

“While the outcome of the coverage determination is unknown, our projection in no way implies what the coverage determination will be, however, we must plan for the possibility of coverage for this high cost Alzheimer’s drug which could, if covered, result in significantly higher expenditures for the Medicare program,” 

Medicare Information

If you are 65 or older you are probably bombarded with information about Medicare Advantage Plans, both by direct mail and TV ads. Don’t be misled. Do your research if you want to know more about these plans and how they compare with traditional Medicare and our NYSHIP/United Healthcare secondary insurance. Most of these plans are designed for people who do not have employer health insurance in retirement. The official Medicare.gov website states:

Talk to your employer, union, or other benefits administrator about their rules before you join a Medicare Advantage Plan. In some cases, joining a Medicare Advantage Plan might cause you to lose employer or union coverage. If you lose coverage for yourself, you may also lose coverage for your spouse and dependents.

In other cases, you may still be able to use your employer or union coverage along with the Medicare Advantage plan you join. Remember, if you drop your employer or union coverage, you may not be able to get it back.

Important!!

From New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

Have Peace of Mind that Your Pension Benefits are Secure
Like all investors, the state’s pension fund has faced challenges this year. Fortunately, we’re well-funded and the benefits of public workers are secure. We want to assure the more than one million men and women who rely on the state pension fund for retirement security that we are well-positioned to weather the ongoing volatility. To our retirees, your pensions are safe and we will continue to pay your benefits as scheduled each and every month as promised. For some time, we’ve been making adjustments in expectation of a downturn in the economy. We’re actively managing through these difficult times and are confident the markets will ultimately recover

Know Your Retirement Benefits if You Get Sick
The unfortunate reality is that some public workers may become seriously ill or die from this virus. If tragedy befalls them before their retirement becomes effective their beneficiaries could lose out. I applaud Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order that waives the standard waiting period after filing for service retirement benefits to ensure their families will get the benefits meant for them. I want to make sure that we’re fulfilling our promises to public workers.

What you need to know if you are traveling outside the US.

Are you planning to travel outside the US? Then you should be aware of how your health insurance works during foreign travel.

Empire Plan coverage is available worldwide, primarily in the form of reimbursement. If Medicare is your primary insurance, you should be aware that Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States (with a few exceptions).

If you require medical care while abroad, the American Embassy can usually provide names of reliable, English-speaking doctors. After receiving medical services, ask for copies of your medical records in English, if possible. Keep a receipt when you pay your bill. When you get home, submit the records to the appropriate Empire Plan administrator. The Plan administrators will reimburse you directly for covered expenses. If you are Medicare primary, remember that Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States. If no other coverage is in effect, The Empire Plan is primary until you return.

The above paragraph was excerpted from the publication, On the Road with the Empire Plan. The publication  is a must read for all New York State retirees who travel out of New York, both in the United States and internationally.

Click the buttons below to download the New York State publications or to learn more about Medicare and foreign travel.


 

 

 

Thanks to member Ed Nostrand for sharing the information about Medicare and foreign travel.

Urgent Message Regarding Health Insurance

NYSUT sent out a notice earlier this year regarding the NYSHIP dependent eligibility audit. The  Audit was directed strictly to those members with family Empire Plan coverage and who obtain their health coverage through school districts or local
governments.

April 15, 2016, was the deadline for participants to submit verifying dependent information to the plan for the purpose of coverage. It was reported yesterday that as of 04/14/16, 26,000 Empire Plan participants had not submitted their dependent verification information. If this information is not submitted, dependents will be removed from coverage, and most would lose coverage retroactive to 01/01/16.

Local leaders encourage their members to review the dependent verification packet they received in February and comply with the request as soon as possible. If participating members have questions, members can call HMS Solutions (the NYSHIP dependent verification vendor) 1-855-893-8477.