As we near the end of 2023, it’s time to start thinking about the changes coming to Medicare Advantage plans in 2024. Understanding these updates can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage and ensure you’ll receive the benefits you need without paying unnecessary costs. In this blog post, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about Medicare Advantage plans 2024, from enrollment deadlines and benefits to plan types and cost-sharing responsibilities.
Enrollment deadlines: Medicare Advantage open enrollment begins on October 15, 2023, and ends on December 7, 2023. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in or switch between Medicare Advantage plans. An important note for 2024: beneficiaries will also be able to make plan changes from January 1, 2024, to March 31, 2024. However, during this so-called open enrollment period, changes will be restricted to making only one change to switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare or vice versa. Bear in mind that each year, Medicare beneficiaries are able to switch to a 5-star rated Medicare Advantage plan at any time during the year.
Benefit changes: Medicare Advantage plans are always subject to change, so it’s critical to review plan materials each year. The annual Notice of Change (NOC) will be sent to all beneficiaries beginning in September and will inform them if their current plan will be making changes in the next calendar year. Some changes you may see in 2024 could include increased premiums or changes to drug formularies. You’ll want to pay close attention to these communications to ensure your plan continues to meet your healthcare needs, especially as the global healthcare landscape undergoes rapid changes.
Plan types: Medicare Advantage plans are categorized in a variety of ways, but beneficiaries will generally have access to Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), and Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans. The majority of plans are PPOs, which means that you’ll have flexibility in choosing your healthcare providers, including those out-of-network, but you’ll save money by staying in-network. 2024 will also bring new plan types beyond the standardized ones of HMO, PPO, PFFS, and Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans but details on what’s coming are still scarce. We’ll share more information as it’s released in the coming months.
Cost-sharing: When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll be expected to contribute to your healthcare costs. These costs could include deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. In general, PPO plans have higher out-of-pocket costs for providers outside of the network, while HMO plans may be more expensive for out-of-network care but offer lower costs for in-network care. However, beyond Part B services there is no cap under Medicare Advantage on how much you could spend for other healthcare services, while Original Medicare has no maximum limit, either on out-of-pocket costs. Remember, certain Medicare Advantage plans may not cover certain types of healthcare services, such as vision, hearing, or dental, so be sure to examine your plan’s Summary of Benefits and Cost-Sharing for details.
As we near the end of 2023 and start to look towards 2024, it’s important to be informed about the changes coming to Medicare Advantage plans in the coming year. Understanding the benefits and risks of each plan type and knowing when and how to enroll in a plan could save you money in the long run. Keep in mind that Medicare Advantage plans are not one size fits all and your healthcare needs may change year after year. Review your plan materials carefully each year, and if you’re unsure which plan to choose, consult with an insurance professional who can help guide you through the decision-making process.