As the new year rolls around, there are some critical updates and changes to Medicare that beneficiaries need to be aware of. With the aging population growing yearly, Medicare remains a crucial part of healthcare for millions of Americans. This article will outline the updates and changes to Medicare in 2024 and what it means for beneficiaries.
Increase in Part B Premiums
Medicare Part B covers outpatient medical services and doctor visits. While the standard premium amount for Part B in 2022 was $170.10, the Part B premium amount decreased to $164.90 in 2023. The decrease could have been due to the significant increase from 2021 to 2022.
Additionally, high-income beneficiaries may be subject to an Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) if their annual income exceeds a certain threshold. The IRMAA surcharge will range from about $66 to $396 monthly, depending on income. This surcharge would be added to the monthly standard base premium. You will also pay an additional amount for your Part D drug plan if you’re subject to IRMAA.
Starting in 2024, if you have Medicare due to End-Stage Renal Disease, had a kidney transplant, and need extended immunosuppressive drug coverage after the 36-month period, you can continue with Part B only. Part B would only help cover the cost of your immunosuppressive drugs at a lower monthly premium.
Medicare Supplement Plans in 2024
When choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan in 2023, there are a few things you’ll want to know. Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans, are designed to help cover the costs of Original Medicare, including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. There are ten standardized Medigap plans, each with a different letter.
The new out-of-pocket limits for Plans K and L are $6,940 and $3,470, respectively, for 2024. For High Deductible Plans F and G, the high deductible is $2,700 in 2024.
When you enroll in a Supplement plan, you’ll want to know about the changes in Medicare because Medicare is your primary insurance and determines your coverage.
Changes to Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage to beneficiaries. In 2024, there will be some changes to Medicare Part D that will affect beneficiaries.
In 2023, all Part D plans and Advantage plans with drug coverage must cap covered insulin at $35 for a 30-day supply. Insulin covered by Medicare Part B will also be capped at $35 per month starting July 2023.
Some vaccines fall under Medicare Part D, such as Tdap and Shingles. As of 2023, Part D vaccines will be covered 100% regardless of if you still need to meet the Part D deductible.
More Part D changes will occur in 2024 and beyond, including eliminating the catastrophic coverage stage and capping costs at $2,000.
Two important enrollment periods were changed starting January 1, 2023. The first is the Initial Enrollment Period. For most people, this window is around their 65th birthday month. Before 2023, when you enrolled in Medicare during the three months following your 65th birthday month, your coverage would be delayed by 2 to 3 months. However, as of 2023, your coverage will start the 1st of the following month after you apply during your Initial Enrollment Period.
The second enrollment period affected by the new changes is the General Enrollment Period. This window is from January 1 to March 31 each year. Before 2023, if you enrolled during this window, your coverage would start on July 1. However, as of January 1, 2023, it would begin on the 1st of the following month after you apply.
These new changes benefit enrollees because they limit the large gap before Medicare starts.
New coverage of screenings
If you receive a screening colonoscopy but have polyps removed, you’ll be charged 15% coinsurance of the Medicare-approved amount. Typically, the Part B coinsurance you’re charged is 20%, so this coinsurance is new for 2023.
Another new screening is for hearing and balance exams. Every 12 months, you can see an audiologist without an order for non-acute hearing conditions.
Also, if you meet the conditions, lung cancer screenings can be performed with low-dose computed tomography once a year.
Medicare costs and coverage can change yearly, so viewing your Medicare and You handbook each year is crucial to stay up-to-date with these changes. Your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan can also have changes, but you should be notified about these changes before the new year begins.