The Medicare open enrollment season is fast approaching, from October 15 to December 7.
You can change your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan during this period or switch to a private insurer’s Medicare Advantage plan for 2024.
This time is crucial for Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options carefully and ensure they have the coverage that best suits their needs.
According to Phil Moeller, an expert in Medicare, Social Security, and healthcare, surveys consistently show that reviewing and comparing Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans from year to year can lead to improved coverage and potential cost savings.
Delaying your plan comparison until January may not be wise, as Diane Omdahl, President of 65 Incorporated, a Medicare advisory firm, emphasizes that it’s already too late.
For many Medicare beneficiaries, reducing out-of-pocket healthcare costs is essential.
A recent Commonwealth Fund study revealed that over one in five Medicare beneficiaries struggle to afford health premiums.
2024 Medicare Changes: What to Know During Open Enrollment
This year is critical to review your Part D and Medicare Advantage plans due to three significant changes set to take effect on January 1, 2024:
- Eliminating some out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic prescription expenses makes it crucial to compare Part D plans for potential savings.
- Enhanced savings for low- and moderate-income individuals who qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help program, potentially offering $0 premiums and deductibles for Part D and reduced costs for generic and brand-name drugs.
- Improved mental health coverage, including services from marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors, provided you find therapists who accept Medicare.
Additionally, this open enrollment season may see a decrease in misleading TV commercials and mailers promoting Medicare Advantage plans, as the Biden administration aims to crack down on these types of advertisements.
Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans will soon release their rules for 2024 premiums, coinsurance, copayments, and other out-of-pocket costs.
Beneficiaries should pay close attention to their plan’s Annual Notice of Change to understand how it will differ in the coming year.
When comparing Part D and Medicare Advantage plans, consider using Medicare’s Plan Finder tool or seek assistance from your state’s SHIP plan (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) for unbiased guidance.
You can also consult a Medicare agent or broker, but exercise caution and ensure they provide access to all available plans in your area.
Remember that while a zero-premium Medicare Advantage plan may seem enticing, evaluating the overall costs, including copayments, coinsurance, and the annual out-of-pocket maximum is essential.
For those in Medicare Advantage plans, there will be an extra open enrollment period from January 1 to March 31, 2024, offering the opportunity to change plans or switch to Original Medicare.
This period provides a safety net for beneficiaries who may need to adjust their coverage after the initial open enrollment window has closed.