Since 1965, the United States national health insurance program known as Medicare has been providing beneficiaries with health care benefits, and every year since its beginning, Medicare makes certain changes to services and charges, so all recipients continue to have access to affordable health care services.
Whether you enroll in Original Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and B (medical insurance) or a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan sold by a private insurance company, you may be affected by annual changes.
Every fall, you get an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) from your plan provider informing you of any changes that Medicare is implementing in the upcoming calendar year. Your ANOC can help you decide whether you need to switch Medicare coverage during the Open Enrollment Period or keep your current plan. Here’s a look at what changes to expect in 2024.
Will changes in Medicare benefits for 2024 affect my benefits?
Changes to prescription drug benefits
In 2024, if you have Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage and you spend enough to reach your plan’s catastrophic coverage phase ($8000 in 2024), you will no longer need to pay a copayment or coinsurance for drugs that your plan includes on its formulary (list of covered drugs) for the rest of the current year.
Changes in insulin costs
Because of the Inflation Reduction Act that was passed in 2023, as of January 1, 2024, no Medicare drug plan can charge you more than $35 per month for your monthly supply of insulin products. In addition, you won’t need to pay a deductible for this prescription.
Free adult vaccines
Beginning January 1, 2024, Medicare will provide recommended adult vaccines free of charge. These vaccines include:
- Hepatitis B
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
For the entire year of 2024, all Medicare beneficiaries will have access to telehealth services from anywhere in the United States, and even in your own home. However, after December 31, 2024, you can only access telehealth services from an office or medical facility in a rural area, with the exception of the following cases:
- Monthly visits for in-home dialysis for patients with end-stage renal disease
- Acute stroke
- Substance use disorder
- Mental health care service
- Behavioral health services
Treatment and management of chronic pain
If you’re living with persistent or recurrent pain for more than three months, Medicare will cover your care, including the following services:
- Pain assessment
- Medication management
- Coordination and planning of your care
Outpatient mental health care
Beginning on January 1, 2024, Medicare will provide coverage for intensive outpatient mental health program services (group or individual) that you may get in hospitals, community mental health centers, and other eligible locations that accept Medicare assignment.
In the new year, you’ll also have access to Medicare benefits for mental health care services that are provided by marriage and family therapists, as well as mental health counselors.
This coverage can include partial hospitalization for outpatient psychiatric services.
More options for enrollment in Medicare plans
Those who lose their Medicaid coverage during the year, will be able to enroll in Medicare if they’re eligible. They can also change their Medicare coverage if they have dual-eligible status without paying a late enrollment penalty if they meet eligibility requirements.
COVID-19 care services
In 2024, Medicare will continue to cover FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots at no charge to the Medicare beneficiary.
Other changes to health care services
Beneficiaries will have greater access to behavioral health services, limitations on prior authorization requirements, better information regarding multilingual health care providers, and the provision of culturally competent health care services.
Changes in service charges
In the fall of 2023, Medicare announced the following changes to deductible, coinsurance, and copayment charges:
- The Original Medicare Part A deductible will increase to $1632 per benefit period.
Coinsurance charges for days 61-90 will be $408 per day, and lifetime reserve days will be $816 per day.
- Skilled nursing care facility coinsurance charges will increase to $204 per day for days 21-100.
- The Original Medicare Part B deductible will be $240 in 2024, and the standard monthly premium will go up to $174.70.
If you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, you can expect to maintain your premium charges from 2023. However, some plans might raise their premiums, so you should check your plan for more information.