Oak Street Health is part of CVS Healthspire™

2024 Medicare Changes: What Medicare Beneficiaries Should Know

Written by 
Angela Myers

Article at a glance

  • Staying up-to-date on Medicare changes allows beneficiaries to understand available services and what Medicare will cost this year.
  • There are a few key changes to Medicare in 2024, including an increase in some costs, an expansion of services covered, lower prescription drug costs, and more medication coverage.
  • Medicare costs will increase for most beneficiaries, though it now includes coverage for chronic pain services, expanded coverage for mental health services, and a new cap on the monthly cost of insulin.

The Medicare program run by the federal government changes each year. Typically, the changes are small tweaks in price and medication and services covered. In 2024, coverage for chronic pain, prescription medications, and mental health has expanded. Costs, especially for Medicare Part B, also increased.

Continue reading for the 2024 changes all Medicare beneficiaries should be aware of. 

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federally funded insurance option for those over 65 or with a disability. It consists of three parts:

  • Part A: hospital insurance
  • Part B: medical insurance
  • Part D: drug coverage, which must be entered into on a separate, optional plan

It’s also possible to have Medicare Part C, also known as a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans are hosted through a private insurer instead of the government. Sometimes they include extra services, like vision or dental coverage, or offer lower out-of-pocket costs than original Medicare.

2024 Medicare Costs

Each year, the cost of Medicare services changes slightly. Continue reading for 2024 prices and any coverage changes for parts A, B, C, and D. 

Note: Medicare costs can vary depending on income level, how much someone paid into social security, and coverage. For estimated costs, check out this resource.

Medicare Part A Stays the Same

Medicare Part A covers short-term inpatient hospital stays and care in a skilled nursing facility, if not long-term. Certain home health care services and hospice care are also covered. Long-term care is not usually covered, unless someone gets Medicare supplement insurance.

In 2024, Medicare Part A will operate similarly to previous years, though premiums and deductibles may increase for some beneficiaries. For most, the Medicare Part A premium will be free. If someone didn’t pay enough in Medicare tax while working, they could have a premium of up to $505. 

The part A deductible, sometimes called the inpatient hospital deductible, increased to $1,632 in 2024 (up $32 from last year’s annual deductible). 

Rising Costs for Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers:

  • Necessary medical services to diagnose or treat conditions
  • Preventative screenings and services, such as a flu shot or diabetes screening

For a full list of preventative screenings covered in 2024, click here.

The Medicare Part B premium increased for all beneficiaries this past year. The standard monthly premium is $174.70 in 2024, up $10 from 2023, but this isn’t the price everyone will pay. Depending on income, beneficiaries could pay up to $594 per month.

The Part B deductible, the amount a beneficiary pays before Medicare covers healthcare costs, is $240 in 2024. This is up $14 from the 2024 deductible.

Medicare Part C Remains the Same

Beneficiaries have two enrollment options: select original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan, sometimes referred to as Part C. MA plans are offered by private insurance companies with costs and benefits varying greatly from plan to plan. 

Medicare Advantage Plans sometimes offer higher or lower costs and additional services, such as vision, dental, and/​or hearing coverage, better access to skilled nursing facilities, prescription drug coverage, and more. They also have a yearly limit on how much the beneficiary spends, which original Medicare does not have. 

While there are no federal changes for Medicare Part C, it’s important to explore all benefits and costs of these plans, since policies can differ from company to company. 

Medicare Part D and Prescription Drug Coverage

Perhaps the biggest change this year is to Medicare Part D, an optional Medicare plan that covers prescription drugs. Medicare Part D costs and benefits vary based on the plan chosen and the income level of the beneficiary. Costs will also fluctuate depending on the drug tier of the medication a beneficiary needs. Some Part D plans have a deductible while others don’t. 

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, certain prescription drugs are more affordable and there’s less cost sharing for those with original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.

Specific 2024 changes for those with Medicare prescription drug plans include:

  • Monthly payments for insulin are capped at $35 a month. 
  • Those with medication costs that reach the catastrophic level ($8,000 for 2024) no longer have to pay coinsurance or copayment on prescriptions.
  • The ability to get recommended vaccines without patient cost sharing
  • Expansion of the Extra Help program from the Social Security Administration for those who are 150% below the federal poverty level

Note: In 2025, more changes will come to Part D due to the Inflation Reduction Act. The biggest one is that those with Medicare coverage will experience a $2,000 annual cap on out-of-pocket medication costs in 2025. 

Enrollment Changes

For most beneficiaries, the Medicare initial enrollment period starts seven months before their 65th Birthday and ends three months after. If someone meets certain qualifications, they can enjoy a special enrollment period and won’t be penalized if they enroll later than three months after turning 65. In 2024, Medicare expanded who is eligible for special enrollment. 

Special enrollment now applies if someone:

  • Recently lost Medicaid services
  • Had a group health plan during their initial enrollment period through work, and is now off that plan
  • Was impacted by a natural disaster

Those who have health insurance through the Marketplace or an organization that is not an employer are not eligible for special enrollment. 

Other Changes

Along with changes to cost and enrollment, there are some expansions to what is covered under Medicare in 2024, as well as one service included this year, but not in 2025.

Coverage for Chronic Pain

Medicare will now cover chronic pain management for those who have experienced symptoms for more than three months. This includes care coordination, medication management, and pain assessment services. 

More Coverage for Mental Health

Medicare has expanded its mental health coverage. In the past, part A covered inpatient mental health services and will continue to do so. 

Part B will continue to cover behavioral health services for conditions like anxiety and depression by qualified mental health counselors. These services include individual counseling, psychotherapy, and group counseling. Before, these services had to take place in outpatient centers, such as psychiatry or psychology practices. Now Medicare will also cover more intensive outpatient services, known as partial hospitalization at a doctor’s office, hospital, or community center. 

Mental health coverage under Part B will expand in 2024 to include family and marriage therapy. Marriage and family therapists will have to register to serve people with Medicare, so if you’re looking for these services find a provider who is Medicare-approved.

Typically, the beneficiary pays 20% of the mental health cost for services covered by Part B and Medicare pays the rest. 

Telehealth Remains, But Shrinks in 2025

Currently, Medicare covers telehealth services for all beneficiaries. They will continue to do so through 2024 and beneficiaries can attend telehealth appointments in their home or any other location in the United States. 

However, telehealth coverage will shrink in 2025. Next year, only those who live in rural areas will have access. The one exception will be mental healthcare, which will still be available virtually. 

FAQ

What is changing in Medicare for 2024?

The main changes for Medicare in 2024 include:

  • A rise in Part B deductible and monthly payment costs (up $14 and $10 respectively from 2023)
  • Insulin monthly copayments are capped at $35
  • Anyone whose drug cost reaches catastrophic levels ($8,000) won’t be responsible for medication copayments
  • Mental health coverage also includes intensive outpatient services and family and marriage counseling this year.
  • Pain assessment and management are now covered for those with chronic conditions.

Are we getting new Medicare cards in 2024?

The new Medicare card rollout ended in 2019. Since then, there have been scams claiming to provide new Medicare cards in exchange for personal information. If someone calls and claims they are collecting this information to issue new cards, do not provide it. Instead, call the official Medicare number (1-800-633-4227) to confirm or deny a new card being issued.

How are Medicare premiums calculated for 2024?

Medicare premiums are calculated based on income and if someone files taxes jointly or as an individual. Premiums did rise in 2024 for Part B, with the minimum payment up $10 from 2023.

Did Medicare Part B premium increase in 2024?

The Medicare Part B premium did increase in 2024. The standard premium is now $174.70. This is $10 more than in 2023. The Part B deductible also increased to $240, $14 more than in 2023.

Does everyone pay $170 for Medicare?

There isn’t one set cost for Medicare. How much someone pays depends on their income level, if they paid sufficient Medicare taxes while working, if they added the optional coverage, and whether they chose a Medicare Advantage Plan or original Medicare.

Become a patient

Experience the Oak Street Health difference, and see what it’s like to be treated by a care team who are experts at caring for older adults.

Related articles

View all articles

Get access to care, right in your neighborhood.