Important Medicare Changes and Updates for 2024 You Should Know

Important Medicare Changes and Updates for 2024 You Should Know
  • December 14, 2023

The Medicare open enrollment period, which ran from October 15th to December 7th, has come to a close. Now, it's time to take stock of the changes coming to Medicare in 2024. This article will highlight seven important updates to Medicare, ensuring you're informed about any adjustments that may affect your coverage and out-of-pocket expenses for 2024.

7 Key Changes to Medicare for 2024

Get ready to learn about seven crucial updates to Medicare for 2024. From expanded access to Extra Help to coverage for chronic pain treatment, these changes could impact your healthcare coverage and expenses.

  1. Expanded Access to Extra Help

    The Medicare Part D Extra Help program is designed to assist individuals with limited income and resources in reducing their Part D prescription drug costs. This program aids in covering expenses such as deductibles and copays associated with prescription drugs.

    Eligibility is based on income and resource limits, with adjustments made for single individuals and married couples. In 2024, all those previously eligible for partial Extra Help will automatically qualify for full assistance.
  1. Rising Maximum Costs for Prescription Drugs under Extra Help

    In 2023, individuals enrolled in the Extra Help program paid up to $4.15 for each generic drug and up to $10.35 for each name-brand drug. However, for 2024, these costs are now $4.50 and $11.20, respectively. This adjustment may impact the out-of-pocket expenses for beneficiaries under the Extra Help program, affecting their ability to afford necessary prescription medications.
  1. No Co-pays on Part D-Covered Drugs Once You Reach Catastrophic Coverage

    Catastrophic coverage in Medicare Part D kicks in when your out-of-pocket spending reaches a certain threshold. In 2024, once you hit $8,000 in out-of-pocket costs, you won't have any co-pays for Part D-covered drugs for the remainder of the year. This marks a change from the previous year, where beneficiaries faced a reduced co-pay of no more than 5% once out-of-pocket spending exceeded $7,400.
  1. Coverage for Chronic Pain Treatment

    Chronic pain, lasting three months or more, is a pervasive issue in the United States, often linked with various health concerns like depression, dementia, and higher suicide risk. In 2024, Medicare will begin covering monthly treatments for chronic pain sufferers, including pain assessment, medication management, and care coordination. While this coverage marks a positive step, beneficiaries should know associated costs such as Part B deductibles and co-pays.
  1. Expanded Coverage for Mental Health Services

    With 20% of individuals aged 55 years or older experiencing mental health concerns, expanded coverage for mental health services is a must. In 2023, Medicare only covered services provided by various healthcare professionals. In 2024, this coverage extends to include services from marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors. Additionally, Medicare will cover intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization services, ensuring broader access to important mental health care for beneficiaries.
  1. Coverage for Lymphedema Compression Treatment Items

    Lymphedema, characterized by swelling due to lymph fluid buildup, can significantly impact individuals' quality of life. In 2024, Medicare introduced coverage for gradient compression treatment items for lymphedema sufferers.

    This coverage encompasses both standard and custom-fitted compression items, prescribed as part of lymphedema management. While this represents a positive step in supporting individuals with lymphedema, beneficiaries should be aware of associated costs, including a 20% co-pay and Medicare Part B deductible.
  1. Option to Join Medicare Advantage or Part D Plans During Special Enrollment Periods

    Special enrollment periods offer flexibility for individuals experiencing unique circumstances, such as a natural disaster or loss of coverage. Beginning in 2024, those enrolling during special periods will have the opportunity to join Medicare Advantage or Part D plans.

    This addition enhances accessibility to comprehensive healthcare coverage, ensuring individuals can make informed decisions about their Medicare options, even outside of the traditional enrollment periods.

What is the Best Way to Stay on Top of Medicare Changes?

Staying informed about Medicare changes is essential for making informed decisions about your healthcare coverage. One way to do this is by watching for new articles and updates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). These resources provide valuable information about policy changes, coverage updates, and enrollment periods.

Additionally, working with a local Medicare sales agent can be incredibly beneficial. These specialized professionals are well-versed in all aspects of Medicare, including Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and prescription drug plans. They can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs, helping you navigate the complexities of Medicare enrollment, understand your coverage options, and stay informed about any changes that may affect you. 

Find Your Local Medicare Agent 

Partnering with a local Medicare agent ensures you have the expertise and support needed to navigate the complexities of Medicare. These agents, available in all 50 states, serve as invaluable resources for understanding your coverage options, eligibility, and any changes to the Medicare program. 

Whether you're seeking assistance with plan reviews, enrollment periods, premiums, or coverage questions, a licensed Medicare advisor in your area is equipped to provide personalized guidance. Take the first step towards informed decision-making by exploring the interactive map of local Medicare agents today.