Insurance Advisors Direct

The Medicare insurance industry faced significant changes in January 2024, with rising premiums, evolving coverage options, and ongoing regulatory updates. Beneficiaries saw increases in both Part B premiums and the Part D out-of-pocket threshold, while Medicare Advantage continued to expand its reach and offerings. Policy proposals raised concerns about potential benefit cuts, and a new risk adjustment model began its phased implementation.

January was a busy month for Medicare, with important developments impacting millions of Americans. As we move forward in 2024, it will be crucial to monitor the effects of these changes and advocate for policies that ensure affordable, high-quality healthcare for all Medicare beneficiaries.

What You Need To Know in 2024!

Premiums and Costs:
  • Part B Increases: As of January 1st, 2024, the standard Part B monthly premium increased by $9.80 (5.9%) to $174.70. The annual deductible also rose by $14 (6.2%) to $240.
  • Part D Changes: For Part D beneficiaries, out-of-pocket drug costs reach the catastrophic coverage level at $8,000, eliminating the 5% copay and potentially capping annual costs at $3,300 (projected to drop to $2,000 in 2025).
Medicare Advantage:

  • D-SNP Growth: The number of D-SNPs (plans for dual-eligible beneficiaries with Medicare and Medicaid) continues to rise, reaching 851 options in 2024, nearly doubling from 2019.
  • Increased Choice: One-third of beneficiaries now have access to more than 50 Medicare Advantage plans in their county, compared to just 1% in 2019. Conversely, less than 1% face options limited to under four plans.
  • Premiums and Offerings: 89% of individual enrollment plans now include prescription drug coverage (MA-PDs), with 66% offering no additional premium beyond Part B. This trend of zero-premium options remains steady from 2023.
Policy and Regulation:

  • Proposed Payment Changes: The proposed 2024 payment rates for Medicare Advantage plans faced controversy, with potential decreases in benefits and supplemental offerings predicted by some analysts. The proposed payment adjustments are still under public comment and review.
  • Risk Adjustment Model Update: A phased transition to a new risk adjustment model for calculating plan payments commenced in 2024, aimed at improving accuracy and stability.

  • Enrollment Season: The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans concluded on December 7th, 2023. Beneficiaries can still make changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1st to March 31st, 2024.

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