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Medicare - Ocotber 2023

Volume 5, Number 49



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News & Updates For Medicare Beneficiaries

The first article contains information about the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which begins October 15 and ends December 7 with the effective date for plan changes being 1/1/2024. Marketing for these plans began yesterday, October 1. This article contains other information of interest concerning 2024 plans and marketing requirements, as well as a description of the change to the catastrophic level of all Medicare Part D prescription drug plans made by the Inflation Reduction Act and effective 1/1/24.

The second and third articles contain information about the expected Social Security Cost of Living (COLA) adjustment for 2024 and the expected change to the Medicare Part B premium. It also explains how changes to Part A and B deductibles and co pays will be calculated. We will fully detail all these changes in next month’s newsletter. 


The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period begins October 15. This is the time when eligible Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in or change Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD), and Medicare Prescription Drug plans (Part D). Beneficiaries must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A AND B to enroll in or change Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans. They must be enrolled in EITHER Part A AND/OR Part B to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D). Plans elected during the Annual Enrollment Period are effective January 1, 2024.

Individuals currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Drug Plan can drop that plan and change back to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan effective January 1, 2024 if they make the change during the Annual Enrollment period (which runs from October 15 to December 7). They can also enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan effective January 1; eligibility is subject to successfully answering underwriting questions (unless the individual has what is called a “trial right” or a “guaranteed issue” right).

Individuals enrolled in a Medicare Supplement plan can change plans at any time. Individuals who are changing between Medicare Supplement carriers must successfully answer health questions (unless they have a “trial” or “guaranteed issue” right). Rules differ between carriers concerning changing from one Medicare Supplement plan (e.g., an F to a G) with the same carrier. Some carriers will permit members to call in and change their plans irrespective of the change. Others will only permit members to change to a plan providing lesser benefits and, in that case, may still require the member to submit an application. Others will permit a member to change to a plan with lesser benefits without underwriting but will require medical underwriting if they want to change to a plan with higher benefits.

Please call us at 561-734-3884 or 877-734-3884 if you have any questions on the above or need help making a change. 

What is called the” Pre-Annual Enrollment Period” began October 1. October 1 is the date when 2024 Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug, and stand-alone Part D plans are announced, the website is updated to reflect 2024 plans (2023 plans are also displayed on the website until December 1), and agents can begin marketing and discussing 2024 plans and benefits.

Scope of Appointment requirements also changed October 1. Medicare beneficiaries must agree to a Scope of Appointment before any Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug, or stand-alone Part D drug plan can be discussed. Effective October 1, there is a 48-hour waiting period after the Scope of Appointment is signed or recorded before any plans or costs can be discussed. This is a change from prior years. Previously a Scope could be signed immediately before discussing plans and benefits. 

Now there’s a waiting period of 48 hours between when a Scope of Appointment is signed or recorded before an agent can discuss plans and benefits. The 48-hour requirement does not apply during the last 4 days of the Annual Enrollment Period (i.e., December 4-7) or to unsolicited inbound calls from a beneficiary to an agent. The waiting period also does not apply in the case of walk-ins to an agent’s office or to a person attending a formal or informal marketing event.  

Those who also signed or recorded a Scope of Appointment with an agent before October 1 have met the requirement if at least 48 hours have elapsed since the time of the signed or recorded Scope form; Scope of Appointment forms are effective for a maximum of one year or until a beneficiary enrolls into a new plan, whichever occurs first.

We highly encourage all clients and prospects to read their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) documents. As in prior years, there are some changes to virtually every plan. In addition, new plans and benefits have been announced, and in some cases, carriers have introduced new plans that will be more attractive to existing members than their existing plans. HOWEVER, beneficiaries won’t automatically be transferred to the new plans.  In these cases, beneficiaries will have to enroll in the new plans between October 15 and December 7; otherwise, they’ll remain enrolled in their present plans.

We’re attempting to contact all our clients to make sure they know about the changes to their plans for 2024, as well as any new plans that beneficiaries should consider. However, we’ll be limited in the number of times we’ll be able to call clients. We’ll leave voice mails where possible, and those voice mails will request clients and prospects to call us back on our recorded line at 561-734-3884 or 877-734-3884. In some cases, we don’t have up-to-date contact information.

Accordingly, we highly encourage clients and prospects to call us at 561-734-3884 or 877-734-3884 so we can advise them of how they are affected, discuss plans that meet their needs, and, if necessary, enroll them in new plans starting October 15.

Those with stand-alone Medicare Part D plans should be sure to read their Annual Notice of Change documents. Premiums for some stand-alone Part D plans will increase substantially, but one carrier will significantly be reducing premiums. However, this carrier will be increasing required payments for tier 3 drugs, so their plans probably won’t be appropriate for those on expensive brand-name medications. 

We’re trying to reach all our clients (both through our Send Out Cards greeting card system and by phone) to have them update their medication lists and to have us determine what 2024 plan(s) will be less costly to them (when considering both the premium cost and the cost of the medications). If changing plans is recommended, we’ll help clients change to different plans or carriers between October 15 and December 7 for a January 1, 2024 effective date. Again, please understand we were prohibited from discussing any 2024 Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug, or stand-alond Part D plan until yesterday.

We mentioned in last month’s newsletter that the catastrophic phase of ALL Part D plans (both Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug and stand-alone Part D plans) will be eliminated due to changes mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act. The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that beneficiaries who take brand-name drugs will reach the catastrophic threshold when they spend approximately $3,300 for covered medications in 2024. Those who expect to reach the catastrophic threshold in 2024 should consider buying all their medications through their drug plans, as the cost of only those medications bought through the plan will count toward reaching the catastrophic threshold.


The Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment is expected to be 3.2% next year, according to the Senior Citizens League. A 3.2% COLA would raise the average monthly benefit of $1,790 by about $57.30, bringing the monthly benefits to roughly $1,847.30.

The official announcement is expected early in October or earlier.  We’ll include an article in next month’s newsletter that includes the official announcement.

Read this article for more information.


The Medicare Part B premium is expected to increase from $164.90 to $174.80 next year. The increase will primarily be due to a new Alzheimer’s treatment (Leqembi) from pharmaceutical companies Eisai and Biogen. Beneficiaries enrolled in Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Advantage Prescription plans must pay the Part B premium or they will lose their plans.

The official announcement was expected before this newsletter was scheduled for distribution, so we’ll confirm this premium (as well as the Social Security COLA) in next month’s newsletter.

Once the Part B premium is announced, new tables for Part B and Part D IRMAA (Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount) will be published. IRMAA payments apply to the Part B premium and are also an add-on to premiums for Part D plans [both for Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans as well as Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D)].

In addition, deductibles and co pays will be changing for Part A of Medicare. Once the deductible is announced, co pays can also be determined (the co pay starting at the 60th day of hospitalization will be 1/4 of the Part A deductible; co pays for lifetime reserve days will be 1/2 the new deductible, and co pays for skilled nursing will be 1/8 the new deductible).

The deductible for Part B (provider benefits) will also be changing. Part B coinsurance will remain 20%.

Changes to Part A and B deductibles will not affect Medicare Advantage plans, as benefits in those plans are contracted rates with Medicare and will not change because of any changes in Medicare Part A and B deductibles and co pays. (Any Part B give backs for 2024 plans will also not be affected for the same reason.)

Changes in the Part A and B deductibles and co pays will affect Medicare Supplement plans, as any increases in deductibles and co pays will be picked up if the benefit is a covered benefit in the particular Medicare Supplement.

To our knowledge the deductible for High Deductible plans F and G for 2024 has not been announced, nor has the out-of-pocket limit for Plans K and L.


We expect all the 2024 amounts to have been announced either by the time this newsletter is distributed on October 2 or within the first two weeks of October.

As soon as we confirm the increases, we’ll update all the information on our website at and publish all the information in the November newsletter.

About Paul Cholak

Paul is a licensed, independent health and life insurance agent and has over forty years of benefits experience and specializes in helping Medicare beneficiaries obtain health insurance. However, he offers a complete array of life and health insurance products to individuals of all ages.

He guides Medicare beneficiaries through the steps of getting insurance and is available to help clients both BEFORE and AFTER they've made their purchase decision.

Disclaimer for Part C and D plans: "We do not offer every plan available in your area.  Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area.  Please contact or 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY: 1-877-2048) to get information on all your options."

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The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare-eligibles runs from October 15 through December 7, 2023 for a January 1, 2024 effective date.

Otherwise, you’re eligible to enroll ONLY if you’re first becoming eligible for Medicare or are eligible for another type of enrollment period. Enrollment rules differ between Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug, and separate Medicare drug coverage (Part D).

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