About half of all Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in MA plans next year

The average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans is projected to increase by 64 cents in 2024, but officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) say that nearly 73 percent of enrollees will not see any increase in the monthly charges for their current plan next year.

The average premium for Medicare Advantage, the private insurance alternative to original Medicare, is projected to go from $17.86 a month this year to $18.50 in 2024. But the actual monthly charge that beneficiaries will pay will vary, depending on which plan they select and where they live.

CMS officials estimate that enrollment in Advantage plans will continue to climb, from 31.6 million this year to 33.8 million in 2024, representing about half of all Medicare beneficiaries.

Premium projections for MA plans, also known as Part C, are being released before the Medicare open enrollment period that begins on Oct. 15. The program’s nearly 66 million enrollees will have until Dec. 7 to review their coverage and make changes that would take effect in January 2024.

What’s in store for Part A, B and D premiums?

CMS had previously announced that the average monthly premium for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage would decrease by an estimated 1.8 percent in 2024, from $56.49 this year to $55.50 next year. Actual premiums for those plans also vary, depending on where someone lives and what plan they pick. Most MA plans include prescription drug coverage.

The 2024 monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and other outpatient services, is $174.70 and the annual deductible is $240. Most beneficiaries do not have to pay a premium for Part A, which covers hospital care, but the 2024 deductible for each hospital visit is $1,632.

Most Medicare beneficiaries are not required to pay a Part A premium because they paid enough in Medicare taxes while working. All Medicare enrollees pay Part B premiums, which are automatically deducted from the Social Security benefits of enrollees who have signed up for their retirement payments. MA members then pay any premiums levied by their plan, and original Medicare beneficiaries who buy supplemental — or Medigap — coverage pay a premium for those policies.