Medicare Guide 2022

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Last Updated: October 2021

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Medicare is a national health insurance program for people 65 or older. You may be eligible to get Medicare earlier if you have a disability or end-stage renal disease. Each year, you can choose which way you get your health coverage (and add or switch drug coverage). It’s important to understand your coverage options and compare the different choices, so you can make an informed decision that’s right for you. The following provides a high-level summary about Medicare. For full details and interactive tools about Medicare, visit and its 2022 Medicare and You handbook.

Click on the links below to learn about Medicare, how to sign up, and your coverage options.

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period

You may initially enroll in Medicare during the 7-month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. If you missed your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and need to enroll in Medicare, you likely will have to enroll during either a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) or the General Enrollment Period (GEP). You may face a Part B late enrollment penalty and gaps in coverage if you sign up during the GEP.

If you’re close to 65, and are getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you’ll automatically enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B coverage once you're eligible. Part B has a monthly premium, which you can choose to drop if you'd like.

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (3)

Medicare Open Enrollment

The 2022 Open Enrollment Period runs from Friday, October 15 to Tuesday, December 7, 2021. During this seven-week period, you have a chance to change and review your coverage for 2022. You can use to apply and enroll in health coverage. 

January 1 – March 31, 2022 is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or switch to Original Medicare. 

You may qualify for coverage during a Special Enrollment Period when certain life events occur.

If you did not enroll in Medicare when you originally became eligible for it (or during a Special Enrollment Period), you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period (GEP). The GEP takes place January 1 through March 31 each year, with coverage starting July 1. You may face a Part B late enrollment penalty and gaps in coverage if you sign up during the GEP.

Medicare Coverage Options

When you first enroll in Medicare, you can choose how you get your Medicare coverage. There are two options:

1.) Original Medicare includes Hospital (Part A) and Medical (Part B) insurance. To add drug coverage, you can add Part D. Additionally, adding a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy will help lower your out-of-pocket costs.

2.) Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) is an alternative to Original Medicare. These plans include Part A, Part B, and usually Part D. Most plans have additional benefits— hearing, vision, dental, and more.


Overview of Medicare Options

Know Your Medicare Parts

2021 Medicare Costs
2021 Medicare Part B Costs (1)

Skilled nursing facility care

Services & Items Not Covered by Part A & Part B Medicare 

  • Long-Term Care (also known as “custodial care” and includes activities like bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, and eating)
  • Most dental care
  • Eye exams related to prescribing glasses
  • Dentures
  • Routine foot care
  • Cosmetic surgery  
  • Hearing aids and exams for fitting them

New Changes to Medicare 

  • COVID-19-related items & services
    Medicare covers vaccines, diagnostic tests, and more. 
  • Cognitive assessment & care plan services 
    Medicare covers a cognitive assessment to help detect signs of cognitive impairment.
  • Blood-based biomarker test
    Medicare covers this lab test for colorectal cancer once every 3 years (in some cases).
  • Lower out-of-pocket costs for Insulin
    If you enroll in a "Part D Senior Savings Model" plan, you may be able to join a drug plan that gives benefits for insulin starting January 1, 2022. Learn more:
  • Acupuncture for chronic low back pain
    Medicare covers up to 12 acupuncture visits in 90 days for chronic low back pain.
  • Telehealth & other virtual services
    Medicare covers remote healthcare through telecommunications technology.

Check out the Medicare & You 2022 Handbook for more information. 

Get Help

  • The official government site for Medicare.
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Each state offers free virtual counseling, un-biased towards any health insurance companies. 
  • Insurance brokers. They give free advice however they may have financial incentives to get customers to sign up for these health insurance plans.
  • Fee-based consultants. These consultants have no ties to health insurance companies or health care providers, and are compensated per hour or project.
  • Ask Claire. A free Medicare resource which is un-biased and connects you with a representative from a health insurance company.
  • Medicare Plan Finder. An online tool which guides you through the process of shopping for and comparing plans.