In an announcement today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shared that average premiums, benefits, and plan options for Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Part D prescription drug program are anticipated to remain stable in 2024. The enhancements incorporated in the 2024 Rate Announcement and the 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D Final Rule, such as strengthened beneficiary safeguards in marketing and prior authorization, as well as expanded access to behavioral health services, contribute to this stability. CMS is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring the effectiveness of these programs for Medicare enrollees, ensuring robust and steady benefits, and ensuring accurate payments to plans.
The Inflation Reduction Act is set to further benefit individuals with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage in 2024, introducing improved and more affordable benefits. These include a $35 cost-sharing limit for a month’s supply of each covered insulin product, complimentary recommended adult vaccines, and additional savings on Medicare Part D drug coverage costs. Noteworthy is the expansion of the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program, also known as Extra Help, offering assistance to eligible enrollees in covering premiums and cost-sharing. Additionally, there will be a cap on out-of-pocket costs for those facing high drug costs in the catastrophic phase of the Part D benefit.
To assist individuals in making informed decisions about their healthcare coverage, CMS is releasing crucial information, including 2024 premiums and deductibles for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, ahead of the upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment starting on October 15, 2023.
CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure emphasized, “A top priority for CMS is to protect and strengthen the Medicare program for people with Medicare, their children, and their grandchildren. It is important for people with Medicare to review their health care coverage and explore their Medicare options during Open Enrollment.”
The average monthly plan premium for all Medicare Advantage plans, encompassing Medicare Advantage-Prescription Drug plans, is projected to see a modest change from $17.86 in 2023 to $18.50 in 2024 (an increase of $0.64). The majority of enrollees opting to stay in their plans will likely experience minimal or no premium increase, with almost 73% seeing no increase at all. Furthermore, plan choices are expanding, and individuals with Medicare maintain the flexibility to switch Medicare options. Medicare Advantage supplemental benefit offerings are set to increase slightly in 2024.
CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare, Meena Seshamani, MD, Ph.D., stated, “Today’s release shows that, as expected, people with Medicare will continue to have robust options and stable benefit offerings in the MA market. We encourage individuals eligible for Medicare to review these options as well as Traditional Medicare and enroll in the option that best meets their health needs.”
Projected enrollment in Medicare Advantage is expected to rise from 31.6 million in 2023 to 33.8 million in 2024, representing approximately 50% of all Medicare enrollees, compared to about 48% in 2023.
Moreover, over 1,500 Medicare Advantage plans will participate in the CMS Innovation Center’s Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model in 2024. This model aims to test innovative benefits that are essential for meeting healthcare needs and improving health equity for approximately 8.7 million people.
The Medicare Part D program is also expected to see stable premiums in 2024, accompanied by improvements from the Inflation Reduction Act that will reduce costs for beneficiaries.
The Medicare Open Enrollment period, running from October 15 to December 7, 2023, allows eligible individuals to compare 2024 coverage options on Medicare.gov. CMS encourages people with Medicare to take advantage of this opportunity to review plans and make informed decisions about their healthcare.
For more information on the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design Model, including plan participation, visit: https://www.cms.gov/priorities/innovation/innovation-models/vbid.
For the full press release in Spanish, visit: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/los-programas-medicare-advantage-y-de-medicamentos-recetados-de-medicare-se-mantendran-estables-en
As you navigate through the upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment period, it’s essential to make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage. If you have questions or need assistance finding a plan that suits your needs, the Retirement Answer Team is here to help. Our experienced agents can guide you through the process and provide personalized advice. Contact us today to ensure you have the right plan for a secure and healthy retirement.