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The Major Medicare Changes Coming in 2024

by Gerald Hester

Having medical insurance will reduce your hospital costs drastically. Medicare is the federal government’s health care insurance program for everyone who is 65 and older. For those that fall into this category, finding the right Medicare plan is crucial. However, there are some things that they need to know before they buy medical insurance.

In 2024 the Medicare beneficiaries can expect some changes regarding the existing plans and prices. Let’s see what those changes are.

Debates on Medicare Changes

Source: ciproms.com

The Medicare coverage will mostly remain the same, but there will be some tweaks this year. Congress debated several proposals and came up with different solutions on how to change the face of Medicare. One of these include adding a hearing benefit as well as lowering the price of prescription drugs.

Anyone who has or considers Medicare Part D must be thrilled to hear that the costs of prescription drugs could go down. Furthermore, they also debated lowering out-of-pocket costs for Part D. However, all those changes remain potential.

And instead of helping out their citizens by lowering the prices, the Medicare Part B saw a jump.

Largest Part B Monthly Premium Ever

Source: aarp.net

The Medicare beneficiaries are not happy with the increase in the Part B monthly premium that took place earlier in the year.

Let me remind you that Part B covers doctor visits and other outpatient services such as diagnostic screenings and lab tests. The monthly premium has increased to $170.10 for 2024, which is a $21.60 rise compared to the last year.

According to the officials, the leap couldn’t have been avoided because of the following factors:

  • COVID-19 care has taken a toll on the healthcare industry, causes health care prices to rise;
  • CMS was directed to start paying back the reduced premium starting this year.
  • The new Alzheimer’s drug appeared on the market called Aduhelm. The CMS decided to set the money aside considering that the drug was to be covered by the Medicare plans. Initially, the annual price for Aduhelm was set at $56,000, but it was revised to $28,200 when the company faced pressure from health advocates.

Those who enrolled in Social Security’s annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) will not have to worry too much about the increase. The social security beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare have their premium deducted from their monthly check. The part B premium increase will be somewhat offset by the 5.9 percent increase in COLA. However, not everyone is getting their Social Security benefits yet.

There was some opposition to this price increase earlier this year.

“It is certain, however, that any additional funding caused by including the uncertainty of potential Aduhelm costs in the 2024 premium will be used to reduce the necessary financing in 2024 and later,” according to the CMS report.

“After receiving CMS’s report reevaluating the 2024 Medicare Part B premiums, we have determined that we can put cost-savings directly back into the pockets of people enrolled in Medicare in 2024,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.  “We had hoped to achieve this sooner, but CMS explains that the options to accomplish this would not be feasible.”

Deductibles Jump

Source: healthmarkets.com

The annual Part B deductible will be $233 in 2024 compared to $203 last year. Furthermore, the deductibles and copays and other chargers that people need to cover under the Part D plan will vary from person to person, based on the plan they choose and their location. This is something that you need to check with your Medicare provider and see what the costs would be for you.

No matter the variants, the annual deductible for Medicare Part D cannot exceed $480 in 2024 thanks to the action the federal government took earlier this year.

Last but not least, the Medicare Part A deductible is also on the rise. The inpatient deductible that everyone must pay for a hospital admission has been increased from $1,484 to $1,556. Just to refresh your memory, Medicare Part A covers hospitalizations, hospice care and nursing facility and home health service and this is a must have for all who enroll.

Other than these price hikes, everything else will remain the same. Medicare Supplement Plans will be unchanged in 2024. Medicare recipients should consider MedicareConsumer.com to compare several Medicare Supplement Plan rate quotes from reputable insurance carriers.

Insulin Costs Capped

Source: qtxasset.com

One of the biggest changes for 2024 is an option to sign up for a Part D enhanced plan which locks the price of some insulins at $35 a month. This program actually started last year, but there are much more options and more interested people in 2024. A total of 2,159 Part D participants opted for the upgraded version of the plan. Anyone who has an original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan can sign up anytime.

Mental Health Improved

Source: credihealth.com

The COVID-19 Pandemic opened the question of mental health and people have realized the importance of it. Medicare continues to put more attention to telehealth. Anyone who is feeling insecure or down can always call and talk to professionals about their issues. The agency will increase the availability of mental health services via telehealth for 2024.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the gaps in our current healthcare system and the need for new solutions to bring treatments to patients, wherever they are,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in announcing these changes. “This is especially true for people who need behavioral health services, and the improvements we are enacting will give people greater access to telehealth and other care delivery options.”

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In 2024, Medicare will cover mental health visits outside of the rules governing pandemic, which is a great news.

In a nutshell

Most changes in 2024 regarding Medicare involve pricing, but there are also some modifications within the plans, such as Plan D insulin price cap and mental health availability. As for the potential cuts of Medicare Part D prices, this is something beneficiaries will have to wait for 2024.

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