Every fall, CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid) mails out its Medicare and You Handbook, which details the changes for the upcoming year. These changes may impact both Medicare Advantage beneficiaries and those with Original Medicare. Here’s what you need to know about what changed for 2024.

Premiums and Deductibles

Medicare Part A

  • Premium: Your Part A premium is determined by your work history. If you or your spouse worked for 10 years (40 quarters) or more, your Part A is free. If you worked 30 to 39 quarters, you will pay the reduced premium of $278 per month – the same as in 2023. If you worked less than 30 quarters, you will pay the full monthly premium of $505 per month, a slight decrease from $506 in 2023. If you don’t enroll in Part A when you are first eligible, you may need to pay a late enrollment penalty.
  • Annual Deductible: The Part A deductible for each inpatient hospital admission is $1,632, an increase from $1,600 in 2023. This covers your share of costs for the first 60 days of a Medicare-covered inpatient stay, also known as a benefit period. There is no limit to the number of benefit periods you are allowed have, which means you may pay this deductible more than once during the year.
  • Coinsurance: This varies with location and length of your hospital stay.
    • Days 1 to 60: $0 after you pay your Part A deductible
    • Days 61 to 90: $408 per day, an increase from $400 in 2023
    • Days 91 to 150*: $816 per day, an increase from $800 in 2023

*Known as “lifetime reserve days” because Medicare will only pay for these extra days once in your lifetime

Part A deductibles and co-insurances do not apply if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, some of these costs may be eliminated or reduced.

Medicare Part B

No matter whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, you will pay a Part B Premium. In 2024, the standard Part B monthly premium is $174.70, an increase from $164.90 in 2023. Individuals with higher incomes may pay more. You may also pay more if you did not enroll on time and have to pay a late penalty.

Medicare Advantage

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your insurance carrier determines your premium and other out-of-pocket costs (deductibles, copays, coinsurances, and out-of-pocket maximum), within the limits set by CMS. Every fall, your insurer will send you an Annual Notice of Change letter, which spells out any changes to your plan for the coming year.

Part D Prescription Drug Coverage

Premium: Premiums vary by plan and insurance carrier. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your Part D coverage is included in your monthly premium. If you have a stand-alone prescription drug plan, you will pay a separate premium. Individuals with higher incomes may pay the Part D income-related monthly adjustment in addition to their monthly premium. You may also pay a late penalty if you did not enroll on time.

Deductible: Deductible amounts also vary by plan, but CMS sets a maximum amount. This is $545 in 2024, an increase from $505 in 2023.

No Cost for Part D-Covered Drugs in the Catastrophic Coverage Phase

Out-of-pocket spending on Part D drugs is capped at $8,000 in 2024. Once you reach this amount, you will pay nothing for covered medications for the rest of the year. In previous years, Medicare beneficiaries who reached the catastrophic phase of their coverage had to pay 5% of the cost of the covered drug.

Extra Help Expands

Extra Help (the federal program that provides financial assistance to qualifying seniors by lowering the cost of their Part D medications) expanded its eligibility requirements in 2024. Seniors who meet income and resource requirements will pay a $0 premium, a $0 deductible, and a reduced amount for their prescription drugs. To qualify in 2024, your monthly income must be below $1,903 for individuals and $2,575 for couples. Resources (stocks, bonds, money in a checking or savings account, IRAs, and any real estate other than your primary residence) must be below $17,220 for individuals and $34,360 for couples.

Expanded Benefits in 2024

Additional Coverage for Those Suffering from Chronic Pain

If you are suffering from chronic pain (defined as persistent or recurring pain lasting more than three months), Part B will cover your chronic pain treatments, including pain assessment, medication management, care coordination, and planning. A deductible, copays, and coinsurance may apply, depending on your Medicare coverage.

Expanded Outpatient Mental Health Services

Your Part B benefits will now cover mental health care services provided by marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors. Covered services include partial hospitalization through a community mental health center or outpatient hospital. Part B will now also cover intensive outpatient services at hospitals, community mental health centers, federally-qualified health centers, and Rural Health Clinics. A deductible, copays, and coinsurance may apply, depending on your Medicare coverage.

Lymphedema Compression Treatment Items

If you’ve been diagnosed with lymphedema, Medicare will cover your prescribed gradient compression garments (standard and custom fitted). A deductible, copays, and coinsurance may apply, depending on your Medicare coverage.

Telehealth Services

Telehealth benefits remain the same for 2024, but there will be changes in 2025. Through December 31, 2024, you can receive telehealth services at any location in the U.S., including your home. Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer more telehealth benefits than Original Medicare. For most of these services, you will pay the same amount you would if you received the services in person.

A New Special Enrollment Period

Starting January 1, 2024, if you sign up for Part A or B due to an exceptional situation, you will have two months to join a Medicare Advantage plan or a Part D prescription drug plan. Your coverage will start the first day of the month after you enroll.

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