Every year, Medicare participants have an opportunity to sign up or change plans during the seven-week open enrollment period that begins October 15. The deadline to finalize your decision on what kind of coverage you’d like to have for 2024 is December 7.

What is an Annual Notice of Change?

If you have a Medicare plan your provider is required to send you a “Plan Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC) each fall. The ANOC includes any changes in coverage, costs and more that will be effective the following January. It’s important to review any changes to your plan to make sure the plan still meets your needs. If you don’t receive an ANOC by October, or you’d like to cancel your plan, contact your plan carrier.

What if You Receive a Non-renewal Notice?

A Medicare non-renewal notice will be sent if your plan is leaving the Medicare program in the coming year. If you receive one, you must choose a new plan. For help researching different types of Medicare plans, visit our Medicare information page.Choice of Medicare plans

Enrollees can choose between Original Medicare, which includes both Part A and Part B, Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug plans.

Open Enrollment for Medicare Plans in 2023

Those who want to stay on their current Medicare coverage do not need to re-enroll. However, the costs and covered benefits can change from year to year, so it is recommended to have a look at the coverage choices available each year. That way you can choose which options best meet your health needs.

You can find information and compare personalized options for health and drug coverage with the Medicare Plan Finder at Medicare.gov. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated the Medicare Plan Finder with Medicare health and prescription drug plan information for 2024.

You can also call to get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week with which plan would be best for you at 1-800-MEDICARE. For one-on-one assistance enrollees can contact their State 

Health Insurance Programs.

There are Three Major “Parts” of Medicare:

Part A: which covers hospital stays, skilled nursing, and hospice services;

Part B: which covers outpatient services, most doctor’s visits, and most drugs that need to be administered by medical professionals; and

Part D: which covers most “self-administered” prescriptions.

Most retirees receive Medicare Part A coverage for free because they paid Medicare taxes throughout their careers over the 40 quarters required, equivalent to 10 years. Those who don’t qualify for free Medicare part A could pay between $278, the same as last year, and $505 a month in 2024, an increase of $1 over last year.

Medicare Part B premiums will see an increase this year after dropping for the first time in around a decade last year. The standard monthly premium will rise by $9.80 to $174.70 for 2024 from $164.90 in 2023.

2023 according to CMS. Likewise, the annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries will be $240 next year, an increase of $14 from the previous year.

More Medicare Advantage Plans

Some seniors elect to add additional coverage for things like vision and dental through a Part C or Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage is a private plan alternative to Original Medicare. It provides additional health benefits to Part A and Part B under one plan. Those services can include eyewear, hearing aids and dental benefits, among other features. The number of people enrolled in the program climbed to 30.8 million in 2023, or 51% of Medicare’s roughly 60 million participants.

Since 2017 the average number of Medicare Advantage plans which enrollees can choose from has steadily risen. In 2023 there was a choice of 43 plans for the average beneficiary, up from 33 two years prior. The average monthly premium in 2024 for all Medicare Advantage is projected to increase by 64 cents to $18.50 per month. At the same time, in 2024 the average monthly Part D premiums are forecast to be around $55.50 a nearly two percent decrease from $56.49 last year.

Additionally, “thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, people with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage will continue to have improved and more affordable benefits, including a $35 cost-sharing limit on a month’s supply of each covered insulin product,” along with other additional savings informs CMS.

For the full scope of information regarding getting healthcare coverage through Medicare in 2024, the federal government provides an official handbook.

Important dates for Medicare

December 7

Open Enrollment ends and your enrollment request must be received by the plan that you have chosen. For most this is the last day that you can change your Medicare coverage.

January 1 

If you’ve chosen to switch your Medicare plan, the new coverage begins January 1. If you don’t switch plans, any changes to coverage, benefits, or costs that have been announced will take effect at the start of the year.

Between January 1 and March 31

For those in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have the option to switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan or to Original Medicare during this period. Your Medicare Advantage Plan can be with or without drug coverage. For those who opt to change to Original Medicare, you’ll also have the option to join a Medicare drug plan.

The new coverage will begin the first day of the month after your enrollment form is received by the plan.

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

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