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If you have a mailbox, watch TV, own a phone, or spend any time online, you’re very likely aware The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) started on October 15! 

This is a special time of the year when you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans.

Given all the advertising going on these days, I want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best choices for your health, so I’ve put together this special edition newsletter just for you!

A Quick Look at AEP:

  • When is it? From October 15 to December 7, 2023.
  • What can you do? If you have Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), you can switch plans, join a new plan, or leave a plan.
  • When will the changes happen? Any new changes you make will start on January 1, 2024.

Important Medicare Updates for 2024

Premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D are changing. Here’s what’s new:

  • Part B Monthly Premium: It’s now $170.10 each month in 2024. That’s an increase of $9.80 per month, or $117.60 more a year. People with higher incomes might pay a bit more each month due to IRMAA (the link also outlines 2024 IRMAA calculations).
  • Part B Annual Deductible: You’ll pay the first $233 of your medical costs in 2024, up from $226 in 2023.
  • Part D Changes: There are many, including premium increases and decreases across the board.  Pay special attention this year to those, but also to what drugs are going to be covered on your formulary in 2024, regardless of the monthly premium.  People with higher incomes might pay more each month due to IRMAA.

Here’s Why:

Premiums go up for a lot of factors, but it’s no secret medical spending and inflation have been high post-COVID. There have also been a smattering of new, smaller state and federal laws affecting Medicare, and I’m starting to see the beginnings of a large, multi-year impact to Medicare premiums and benefits due to the passage  of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022.  But don’t worry, there’s still (expanded in 2024!) help for people who have a hard time paying for Medicare.

Things to Think About During the AEP:

  • Check Changes: Look at your Annual Notification of Change letter. See if major costs or benefits are changing, like the MOOP, hospitalization or outpatient procedures. If you don’t like the changes, now’s the time to look for a new plan.
  • Travel Plans: If you’re planning to travel, look at how your plan covers health care in the US and abroad next year.
  • Medicine and Benefits: If your prescriptions changed during 2023, or you want to explore extra benefits, like more dental coverage, AEP is the perfect time to shop and switch plans.

On a Personal Note…

Many people have sought my personal recommendation for a dependable licensed insurance agent. You know, the kind that avoids high-pressure sales, is unbiased in their advice, keeps in touch through the years, and truly aids in navigating the Medicare maze. 

There are probably agents like this in your hometown, but I certainly don’t know all of them.

If you’ve already got a great agent – wonderful! If you’re looking for this kind of insurance agent, I’ve got the perfect person: my wife, Niki. 

Now, you might give me a funny look for me recommending my wife’s agency, but the quality of the service I put my name behind means everything to me, and frankly, she’s been doing incredible work helping people for almost a decade.

You can find her website at https://brickhouseagency.com, or call 844-844-6565 to schedule an appointment!

About the Author

Matt Feret is the author of the Prepare for Social Security – The Insider’s Guide and the Prepare for Medicare – The Insider’s Guide book series and launched PrepareforMedicare.com and PrepareforSocialSecurity.com to help people get objective answers to questions about Social Security and Medicare. Matt is also the host of The Matt Feret Show. He has held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in sales, marketing, operations, product development, and strategy for over two decades.