Understanding the Maximum Out-of-Pocket Expense with Medicare in 2024

As you approach or enter your golden years, understanding Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs is crucial for effective financial planning. One of the most important concepts to grasp is the maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) expense, which acts as a safety net to protect you from excessive medical costs. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the MOOP and explore how it works with different Medicare plans in 2024.

What is the Maximum Out-of-Pocket Expense?

The maximum out-of-pocket expense, often referred to as the MOOP, is an annual limit on the amount you’ll pay for covered health care services under your Medicare plan. Once you reach this predetermined threshold, your plan will cover 100% of the approved costs for the remainder of the year, shielding you from further financial burden.

It’s important to note that the MOOP applies only to certain Medicare plans and doesn’t cover every medical expense you may incur. Let’s break it down by plan type:

Original Medicare (Parts A and B)

Unfortunately, Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not have an out-of-pocket maximum. This means that your potential costs for deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments could be unlimited in a given year, depending on the healthcare services you receive.

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, are required by law to have an annual MOOP limit. For 2024, the maximum out-of-pocket limit for Medicare Advantage plans is set at $8,850 for in-network services. However, many plans may choose to set a lower MOOP to attract more enrollees.

It’s important to note that the MOOP for Medicare Advantage plans does not include prescription drug costs covered under Part D. These expenses contribute to a separate out-of-pocket threshold, which we’ll discuss later.

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)

Medigap policies, also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance, are designed to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs not covered by Original Medicare. Two specific Medigap plans, Plan K and Plan L, have their own out-of-pocket maximums:

  • Plan K: The MOOP for 2024 is $7,060.
  • Plan L: The MOOP for 2024 is $3,530.

Once you reach these limits, your Medigap policy will cover 100% of the approved costs for the rest of the year.

Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)

Medicare Part D, which provides prescription drug coverage, does not have a traditional MOOP like other plans. However, it does offer catastrophic coverage once you’ve spent a certain amount on covered medications.

In 2024, you’ll enter the catastrophic coverage phase after your out-of-pocket costs for covered drugs reach $8,000. During this phase, your copays and coinsurance for covered prescriptions will be significantly reduced for the remainder of the year.

Why is the MOOP Important?

The maximum out-of-pocket expense serves as a financial safety net, protecting you from potentially devastating medical costs that could drain your savings or force you into debt. Without an MOOP, a single serious illness or injury could result in astronomical out-of-pocket expenses, putting a significant strain on your finances.

By understanding and factoring in the MOOP when choosing a Medicare plan, you can better anticipate and budget for your healthcare costs, ensuring that you’re prepared for any unexpected medical situations that may arise.

How to Minimize Your Out-of-Pocket Costs

While the MOOP provides peace of mind, it’s still essential to be proactive in minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Choose a plan with a lower MOOP: If you’re enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, compare the MOOP limits across different plans and opt for one with a lower threshold.
  • Stay in-network: For Medicare Advantage plans, using in-network providers can help you avoid additional out-of-pocket costs.
  • Take advantage of preventive care: Many preventive services, such as annual wellness visits and certain screenings, are covered at 100% by Medicare, helping you avoid out-of-pocket costs.
  • Consider a Medigap policy: If you have Original Medicare, a Medigap policy can help cover some of the out-of-pocket costs, potentially reducing your overall expenses.
  • Apply for assistance programs: If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for programs like Medicaid or the Medicare Savings Program, which can help cover premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs.


Understanding the maximum out-of-pocket expense is crucial when navigating the complexities of Medicare. By being aware of the MOOP limits for different plans and factoring them into your decision-making process, you can better prepare for potential healthcare costs and enjoy greater financial security during your golden years.

Remember, the MOOP is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to Medicare costs. It’s essential to carefully evaluate your specific healthcare needs, budget, and risk tolerance to choose the plan that best fits your unique situation. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from trusted resources or consult with a Medicare expert to ensure you make an informed decision.

Medicare Supplement Out-of-Pocket Maximum


Is there an out-of-pocket limit for Medicare?

There is no limit on out-of-pocket costs in original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Medicare supplement insurance, or Medigap plans, can help reduce the burden of out-of-pocket costs for original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans have out-of-pocket limits that vary based on the company selling the plan.

What is the maximum out-of-pocket for Medicare Part D in 2024?

The standard deductible is increasing from $505 in 2023 to $545 in 2024. The initial coverage limit is increasing from $4,660 to $5,030. The out-of-pocket spending threshold is increasing from $7,400 to $8,000 (equivalent to $12,447 in total drug spending in 2024, up from $11,206 in 2023).

What is the maximum deductible for Medicare?

Deductibles vary between Medicare drug plans. No Medicare drug plan may have a deductible more than $545 in 2024. Some Medicare drug plans don’t have a deductible. In some plans that do have a deductible, drugs on some tiers are covered before the deductible.

What is out-of-pocket expense limit?

The most you have to pay for covered services in a plan year. After you spend this amount on deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance for in-network care and services, your health plan pays 100% of the costs of covered benefits. The amount you pay for your health insurance every month.

Leave a Comment