UnitedHealthcare® today introduced its 2022 Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans, offering expanded access to plans with differentiated value, simple and affordable benefit design and an unparalleled member experience – all defined by what consumers say matters to them most.
“Medicare Advantage plans continue to evolve in new and exciting ways. But what we consistently hear from our members and Medicare consumers overall, is that they crave stability of benefits and a hassle-free experience that gets them the care and coverage they need at a price they can afford,” said Tim Noel, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “We challenge ourselves every year to strike that balance of meaningful innovation in our offerings with plan predictability, broad value and the distinctive experience our members have come to expect from UnitedHealthcare. And I believe we hit the mark on that again this year.”
Currently, more than 7.3 million peopleii are enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans. In 2022, the company will expand its service area to reach 94% of Medicare consumers nationwide and maintain the industry’s largest Medicare Advantage footprint – including 3.1 million more people in 276 additional counties with access to a standard plan.
With deliberate emphasis on lowering prescription drug costs, improving core and ancillary benefits, and driving an exceptional member experience, highlights of UnitedHealthcare’s 2022 Medicare Advantage plans include:
Investments in Rx Coverage
“Access to affordable prescription drugs continues to rank high on the list of central expectations of our members,” said Noel. “From everyday medications to lifesaving drugs like insulin, our 2022 plans are designed to cover what people tell us they need.”
Most standard plans include prescription drug coverage and access to more than 67,000 network pharmacies, with offerings that deliver cost savings, price predictability and transparency, including:
- $0 Copays and Deductibles: More than 70% of current members and 90% of eligible consumers will have access to $0 tier 1 copays at a retail pharmacy – up from 30% and 59%, respectively, in 2021. Additionally, nearly 60% of members and nearly 80% of eligible consumers will have access to $0 Rx deductibles, up from 40% and 57%, respectively, in 2021.
- Mail-Order Pharmacy: As access to medication at home continues to prove critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, most plans offer $0 copays for tier 1 and tier 2 drugs ordered through the OptumRx home delivery pharmacy.i
- Formulary Investments: In addition to lower cost-sharing, more than 20 generic drugs are moving to a lower tier, giving members greater access to a wider variety of drugs for a $0 copay.
- Part D Coverage Gap: All plans will provide tier 1 gap coverage, eliminating increased costs during the coverage gap and helping to ensure cost is not a barrier for members to stay adherent with their medications.
- Part D Senior Savings Model: More than 5.5 million members will have access to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans that limit monthly out-of-pocket costs to $35 or less for all covered insulin, driving significant savings and more predictable monthly expenses. This year, eligible UnitedHealthcare members have saved an average of nearly $450 through the program.
- $0 Drug Copays on Dual Special Needs Plans (D-SNP): UnitedHealthcare will expand access to $0 copays on covered drugs to 93% of our members enrolled in D-SNP plans, up from 73% this plan year.
- Rx Online Marketplace: This tool within the digital member experience enables members to compare drug prices, manage refills and transfers for pickup or delivery at a convenient retail pharmacy or through OptumRx home delivery. With more than 2.6 million visits since its launch in late 2020, members who used the Rx Online Marketplace to price-shop and change to an alternative drug saw annual savings on their medications of $467, on average.
Meaningful Value and Stable Plan Design
“Consumers want coverage that is simple to use and understand, while offering more for their Medicare dollar,” said Noel. “So, we are bringing more plans to more people that offer low and $0 premiums; $0 copays; and enhanced benefits that drive value in ways that matter to people.”
Plan features that will help make predictable, affordable coverage a reality for more Medicare Advantage consumers in 2022 include:
- Premiums: Most members will see stable or reduced Medicare Advantage premiums, including nearly 3 million members with a $0 premium.i
- $0 Copays: People will have broad access to $0 copays on primary care, labs, virtual visits, diagnostic colonoscopies and mammograms, and cardiac rehab. Many members will also see lower copays on specialist visits and physical, occupational and speech therapies – and $0 copays when the visit is virtual.
- Medicare National Network: The largest Medicare Advantage networkiii will be available across even more plans in 2022, reaching nearly 90% of people in UnitedHealthcare’s coverage area and more than 2.7 million current enrollees. Members pay network costs when they see any of the more than 1 million network care providers, whether in their neighborhood or away from home.
- Dental: The company offers most members access to the nation’s largest Medicare Advantage dental network, with more than 98,000 contracted dental providers.iii Additionally, nearly 90% of people will have access to a comprehensive dental benefit, with many plans covering crowns, bridges, deep cleanings, extractions and root canals, with some also covering dentures.i
- Vision and Hearing: All plans will maintain a $0 routine annual eye exam, and most will have an eyewear allowance. Standard lenses are covered at no cost and nearly half of plans are moving to an annual benefit (vs. every two years), up from 4% in 2021. Additionally, the majority of plans will offer a $0 hearing exam and almost all members will have a hearing aid benefit, typically annual, and access to custom-programmed hearing aids through UnitedHealthcare Hearing, including retail and home-delivery options.
- Combined Over-the-Counter (OTC) and Healthy Food Credit: Nearly all D-SNP members will have a new combined monthly OTC and healthy food benefit, increasing the amount Dual members can use for covered groceries by more than three times, to an average of $1,400 per year. D-SNP members can use the monthly credit at their discretion across covered OTC products or healthy foods in the same shopping trip or online delivery order.
Distinctive and Enhanced Offerings
“We feel best about the plans we put into the marketplace when we know they are rooted in differentiated offerings supported by an exceptional member experience,” said Noel. “This year, we want our members to know that every expanded benefit, every enhanced program and every investment in a new offering is because we have been listening intently and shaping our plans to deliver on what we hear from consumers.”
Added benefits and features that drive distinction for UnitedHealthcare members in 2022 include:
- UCard: The company is launching a new integrated member ID card in select markets that will simplify the member experience by consolidating separate benefits and program cards onto a single card. The UnitedHealthcare UCardTM will continue to serve as an individual’s health plan ID card but will also replace OTC and Healthy Food benefit cards, along with any reward cards a member may earn throughout the year. The UCard can be used to redeem eligible benefits or reward credits at more than 30,000 retail locations in addition to online.
- HouseCalls: Most plans will include HouseCalls, which offers members a yearly visit with a licensed clinician from the comfort of home, helping to coordinate needed care – including with an individual’s primary care provider. In 2022, the program will expand home-based testing options for chronic conditions like diabetes and hepatitis C. Additionally, social determinants of health (SDOH) assessments will continue to be widely integrated into HouseCalls visits, ultimately referring members to the appropriate social support services based on their identified needs.
- Renew Active® Fitness Program: The gold standard in Medicare fitness programs for body and mind will be available in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Renew Active provides a free membership at a gym or fitness location from our nationwide network, the largest of all Medicare fitness programs, along with thousands of on-demand videos and live streaming fitness classes, giving members the flexibility to work out when, where and how they choose. The program also offers access to local health and wellness classes and events, and an online brain health program from AARP® Staying Sharp®.
- Service Excellence: The Advocate4Me® customer service model offers personalized support focused on meeting a member’s needs in a single call, not how quickly a member gets on and off the phone. In 2022, all members will be supported by customer service teams trained on plans specific to their geography, and SDOH assessments will be broadly conducted, with a commitment to “closing the loop” on submitted referrals, ensuring needs are met.
- Navigate4Me: For members with complex health care needs, such as those facing an acute health event or those eligible in Dual Special Needs Plans, Navigate4MeTM offers one-on-one support. A single point of contact helps to coordinate care, address claims issues, provide social support and assist with other needs. Over 1 million people have had a dedicated UnitedHealthcare navigator so far this year, and the same quality supported care will be available again in 2022.
More Plan Options to Meet Diverse Needs
The only company to offer Medicare plans with the AARP name, UnitedHealthcare serves nearly 1 in 5 people in the Medicare program through its portfolio of plansiv. UnitedHealthcare is the nation’s largest Medicare Supplement provider, serving approximately 4.4 million people through its Medicare Supplement plans.
“Our Medicare Supplement plans are some of the highest-rated by consumers, and we take pride in our competitive and stable rates,” said Noel. “In 2022, we will introduce new lower premium Medicare Supplement plans to meet the growing and varied needs of consumers.”
In 2022, people with eligible UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement plans across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., will have access to a variety of value-added programs and features offered at no additional cost. Most plans include a nationwide dental discount program; hearing and vision discount programs; 24/7 nurse line; Renew Active by UnitedHealthcare, which offers access to an extensive network of participating gyms and fitness locationsv as well as access to AARP® Staying Sharp® online brain health program; and an AARP Smart DriverTM course – an online or in-person driving refresher course that may allow for reduced insurance premiums.
UnitedHealthcare also serves approximately 3.6 million people through its stand-alone and group Part D prescription drug plans. The AARP® MedicareRx Walgreens plan from UnitedHealthcare offers $0 tier 1 copays at more than 9,000 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations, and a 20% premium reduction in 2022.
People can make changes to their Medicare coverage during Medicare Annual Enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
For more information on UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare plans, visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.
iRefers to UnitedHealthcare’s standard Medicare Advantage plans (i.e., non-special needs plans).
iiCMS enrollment data, August 2021. Enrollment across all plans.
iiiNetwork size varies by plan and by market and exclusions may apply.
ivCMS enrollment data, August 2021.
vThese are additional insured member services apart from the Medicare Supplement Plan benefits, are not insurance programs, are subject to geographical availability and may be discontinued at any time. Availability of fitness program may vary by area. Fitness program network only includes participating facilities and locations. None of these services should be used for emergency or urgent care needs. In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Note that certain services are provided by Affiliates of UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or other third parties not affiliated with UnitedHealthcare.