As we approach the end of the year, the annual Medicare open enrollment period begins, and it is time to review your current Medicare coverage and determine if any adjustments need to be made. Most people will only make changes due to an increase in premiums or co-pay amounts, but there may be other reasons to consider a change. Any changes to your coverage can be made starting October 15 through December 7.
To help determine if your coverage needs to be adjusted, here are some of the changes to Medicare in 2024 to consider while planning for this upcoming calendar year:
- Better mental health care: Starting January 1, 2024, Medicare will also cover mental health care services provided by marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors. Covered mental health care includes partial hospitalization services given by a community mental health center or by a hospital to outpatients. Partial hospitalization is a structured day program that offers outpatient psychiatric services as an alternative to inpatient psychiatric care.
- Saving money on your prescription drugs: In 2023, once your out-of-pocket spending reached $7,400, you would automatically get “catastrophic coverage.” Generally, this means you would only pay a small coinsurance percentage (no more than 5%) or copayment for your covered Part D drugs for the rest of the calendar year. Now starting January 1, 2024, once your out-of-pocket spending reaches $8,000, you won’t have to pay a copayment or coinsurance for covered Part D drugs for the rest of the calendar year.
- Managing and treating chronic pain: Starting January 1, 2024, Medicare will now cover monthly services to treat chronic pain if you’ve been living with it for more than three months. Services may include pain assessment, medication management, and care coordination and planning. The Part B deductible and coinsurance apply.
- Changes to telehealth coverage: You can still get telehealth services at any location in the U.S., including your home, until the end of 2024 (December 31, 2024). After that, you must be in an office or medical facility located in a rural area to get most telehealth services. There are some exceptions, so please reference the “Medicare & You” handbook linked below for more information.
- More times to sign up for Medicare: If you recently lost (or will soon lose) Medicaid, you may be able to sign up for Medicare or change your current Medicare coverage. There are other special situations that allow you to sign up for Medicare, so please reference the “Medicare & You” handbook linked below for more information.
- COVID-19 care: Medicare continues to cover the COVID-19 vaccine and several tests and treatments to keep you and others safe.
*If you wish to read more information on the above changes for 2024, or reference any information regarding current Medicare offerings, you can download the “Medicare & You” handbook from the Medicare.gov website.
Key Dates for 2024 Medicare Enrollment
October 1, 2023: Start comparing your current coverage with other options. You may be able to save money or get extra benefits.
October 15 to December 7, 2023: Change your Medicare health or drug coverage for 2024, if you decide to. You can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare drug plan or switch to Original Medicare during this open enrollment period each year.
January 1, 2024: New coverage begins if you made a change. If you kept your existing coverage and your plan’s costs or benefits changed, those changes also start on this date.
January 1 to March 31, 2024: If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or switch to Original Medicare (and join a separate Medicare drug plan) once during this time. Any changes you make will be effective the first day of the month after the plan confirms your request.
As a reminder, if you would like to make a change to your Medicare Advantage or drug plan, simply enroll in the Medicare Advantage plan or Part D prescription plan you want, and you will be automatically dropped from your previous plan. Remember, the coverage will not be effective until January 1, 2024.
We recommend working to make any changes to your Medicare coverage well in advance of the December deadline. The earlier you call, the less time you could spend on hold. To make changes, you can either log in to your account through medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
We partner with a number of professionals who specialize in navigating Medicare options. To learn more, please contact your JNBA Advisory Team.
PLEASE NOTE: JNBA is neither an agent of The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, nor an insurance agent. All claiming strategies and benefits must be verified and accepted by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, no portion of the above should be construed as insurance advice. All insurance issues should be addressed with the insurance professional of your choosing.
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