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Medicare Assignment: Everything You Need to Know

Medicare assignment.

  • Providers Accepting Assignment
  • Providers Who Do Not
  • Billing Options
  • Assignment of Benefits
  • How to Choose

Frequently Asked Questions

Medicare assignment is an agreement between Medicare and medical providers (doctors, hospitals, medical equipment suppliers, etc.) in which the provider agrees to accept Medicare’s fee schedule as payment in full when Medicare patients are treated.

This article will explain how Medicare assignment works, and what you need to know in order to ensure that you won’t receive unexpected bills.

fizkes / Getty Images

There are 35 million Americans who have Original Medicare. Medicare is a federal program and most medical providers throughout the country accept assignment with Medicare. As a result, these enrollees have a lot more options for medical providers than most of the rest of the population.

They can see any provider who accepts assignment, anywhere in the country. They can be assured that they will only have to pay their expected Medicare cost-sharing (deductible and coinsurance, some or all of which may be paid by a Medigap plan , Medicaid, or supplemental coverage provided by an employer or former employer).

It’s important to note here that the rules are different for the 29 million Americans who have Medicare Advantage plans. These beneficiaries cannot simply use any medical provider who accepts Medicare assignment.

Instead, each Medicare Advantage plan has its own network of providers —much like the health insurance plans that many Americans are accustomed to obtaining from employers or purchasing in the exchange/marketplace .

A provider who accepts assignment with Medicare may or may not be in-network with some or all of the Medicare Advantage plans that offer coverage in a given area. Some Medicare Advantage plans— health maintenance organizations (HMOs) , in particular—will only cover an enrollee’s claims if they use providers who are in the plan's network.

Other Medicare Advantage plans— preferred provider organizations (PPOs) , in particular—will cover out-of-network care but the enrollee will pay more than they would have paid had they seen an in-network provider.

Original Medicare

The bottom line is that Medicare assignment only determines provider accessibility and costs for people who have Original Medicare. People with Medicare Advantage need to understand their own plan’s provider network and coverage rules.

When discussing Medicare assignment and access to providers in this article, keep in mind that it is referring to people who have Original Medicare.

How to Make Sure Your Provider Accepts Assignment

Most doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers in the United States do accept Medicare assignment.

Provider Participation Stats

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 98% of providers participate in Medicare, which means they accept assignment.

You can ask the provider directly about their participation with Medicare. But Medicare also has a tool that you can use to find participating doctors, hospitals, home health care services, and other providers.

There’s a filter on that tool labeled “Medicare-approved payment.” If you turn on that filter, you will only see providers who accept Medicare assignment. Under each provider’s information, it will say “Charges the Medicare-approved amount (so you pay less out-of-pocket).”

What If Your Provider Doesn’t Accept Assignment?

If your medical provider or equipment supplier doesn’t accept assignment, it means they haven’t agreed to accept Medicare’s approved amounts as payment in full for all of the services.

These providers can still choose to accept assignment on a case-by-case basis. But because they haven’t agreed to accept Medicare assignment for all services, they are considered nonparticipating providers.

Note that "nonparticipating" does not mean that a provider has opted out of Medicare altogether. Medicare will still pay claims for services received from a nonparticipating provider (i.e., one who does not accept Medicare assignment), whereas Medicare does not cover any of the cost of services obtained from a provider who has officially opted out of Medicare.

If a Medicare beneficiary uses a provider who has opted out of Medicare, that person will pay the provider directly and Medicare will not be involved in any way.

Physicians Who Have Opted Out

Only about 1% of all non-pediatric physicians have opted out of Medicare.

For providers who have not opted out of Medicare but who also don’t accept assignment, Medicare will still pay nearly as much as it would have paid if you had used a provider who accepts assignment. Here’s how it works:

  • Medicare will pay the provider 95% of the amount they would pay if the provider accepted assignment.
  • The provider can charge the person receiving care more than the Medicare-approved amount, but only up to 15% more (some states limit this further). This extra amount, which the patient has to pay out-of-pocket, is known as the limiting charge . But the 15% cap does not apply to medical equipment suppliers; if they do not accept assignment with Medicare, there is no limit on how much they can charge the person receiving care. This is why it’s particularly important to make sure that the supplier accepts Medicare assignment if you need medical equipment.
  • The nonparticipating provider may require the person receiving care to pay the entire bill up front and seek reimbursement from Medicare (using Form CMS 1490-S ). Alternatively, they may submit a claim to Medicare on behalf of the person receiving care (using Form CMS-1500 ).
  • A nonparticipating provider can choose to accept assignment on a case-by-case basis. They can indicate this on Form CMS-1500 in box 27. The vast majority of nonparticipating providers who bill Medicare choose to accept assignment for the claim being billed.
  • Nonparticipating providers do not have to bill your Medigap plan on your behalf.

Billing Options for Providers Who Accept Medicare

When a medical provider accepts assignment with Medicare, part of the agreement is that they will submit bills to Medicare on behalf of the person receiving care. So if you only see providers who accept assignment, you will never need to submit your own bills to Medicare for reimbursement.

If you have a Medigap plan that supplements your Original Medicare coverage, you should present the Medigap coverage information to the provider at the time of service. Medicare will forward the claim information to your Medigap insurer, reducing administrative work on your part.

Depending on the Medigap plan you have, the services that you receive, and the amount you’ve already spent in out-of-pocket costs, the Medigap plan may pay some or all of the out-of-pocket costs that you would otherwise have after Medicare pays its share.

(Note that if you have a type of Medigap plan called Medicare SELECT, you will have to stay within the plan’s network of providers in order to receive benefits. But this is not the case with other Medigap plans.)

After the claim is processed, you’ll be able to see details in your MyMedicare.gov account . Medicare will also send you a Medicare Summary Notice. This is Medicare’s version of an explanation of benefits (EOB) , which is sent out every three months.

If you have a Medigap plan, it should also send you an EOB or something similar, explaining the claim and whether the policy paid any part of it.

What Is Medicare Assignment of Benefits?

For Medicare beneficiaries, assignment of benefits means that the person receiving care agrees to allow a nonparticipating provider to bill Medicare directly (as opposed to having the person receiving care pay the bill up front and seek reimbursement from Medicare). Assignment of benefits is authorized by the person receiving care in Box 13 of Form CMS-1500 .

If the person receiving care refuses to assign benefits, Medicare can only reimburse the person receiving care instead of paying the nonparticipating provider directly.

Things to Consider Before Choosing a Provider

If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, you have a wide range of options in terms of the providers you can use—far more than most other Americans. In most cases, your preferred doctor and other medical providers will accept assignment with Medicare, keeping your out-of-pocket costs lower than they would otherwise be, and reducing administrative hassle.

There may be circumstances, however, when the best option is a nonparticipating provider or even a provider who has opted out of Medicare altogether. If you choose one of these options, be sure you discuss the details with the provider before proceeding with the treatment.

You’ll want to understand how much is going to be billed and whether the provider will bill Medicare on your behalf if you agree to assign benefits (note that this is not possible if the provider has opted out of Medicare).

If you have supplemental coverage, you’ll also want to check with that plan to see whether it will still pick up some of the cost and, if so, how much you should expect to pay out of your own pocket.

A medical provider who accepts Medicare assignment is considered a participating provider. These providers have agreed to accept Medicare’s fee schedule as payment in full for services they provide to Medicare beneficiaries. Most doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers do accept Medicare assignment.

Nonparticipating providers are those who have not signed an agreement with Medicare to accept Medicare’s rates as payment in full. However, they can agree to accept assignment on a case-by-case basis, as long as they haven’t opted out of Medicare altogether. If they do not accept assignment, they can bill the patient up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved rate.

Providers who opt out of Medicare cannot bill Medicare and Medicare will not pay them or reimburse beneficiaries for their services. But there is no limit on how much they can bill for their services.

A Word From Verywell

It’s in your best interest to choose a provider who accepts Medicare assignment. This will keep your costs as low as possible, streamline the billing and claims process, and ensure that your Medigap plan picks up its share of the costs.

If you feel like you need help navigating the provider options or seeking care from a provider who doesn’t accept assignment, the Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in your state may be able to help.

A doctor who does not accept Medicare assignment has not agreed to accept Medicare’s fee schedule as payment in full for their services. These doctors are considered nonparticipating with Medicare and can bill Medicare beneficiaries up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved amount.

They also have the option to accept assignment (i.e., accept Medicare’s rate as payment in full) on a case-by-case basis.

There are certain circumstances in which a provider is required by law to accept assignment. This includes situations in which the person receiving care has both Medicare and Medicaid. And it also applies to certain medical services, including lab tests, ambulance services, and drugs that are covered under Medicare Part B (as opposed to Part D).

In 2021, 98% of American physicians had participation agreements with Medicare, leaving only about 2% who did not accept assignment (either as a nonparticipating provider, or a provider who had opted out of Medicare altogether).

Accepting assignment is something that the medical provider does, whereas assignment of benefits is something that the patient (the Medicare beneficiary) does. To accept assignment means that the medical provider has agreed to accept Medicare’s approved fee as payment in full for services they provide.

Assignment of benefits means that the person receiving care agrees to allow a medical provider to bill Medicare directly, as opposed to having the person receiving care pay the provider and then seek reimbursement from Medicare.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare monthly enrollment .

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Annual Medicare participation announcement .

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Lower costs with assignment .

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Find providers who have opted out of Medicare .

Kaiser Family Foundation. How many physicians have opted-out of the Medicare program ?

Center for Medicare Advocacy. Durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) updates .

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Check the status of a claim .

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare claims processing manual. Chapter 26 - completing and processing form CMS-1500 data set .

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Ambulance fee schedule .

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Prescription drugs (outpatient) .

By Louise Norris Norris is a licensed health insurance agent, book author, and freelance writer. She graduated magna cum laude from Colorado State University.

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What is Medicare assignment and how does it work?

Kimberly Lankford,

​Because Medicare decides how much to pay providers for covered services, if the provider agrees to the Medicare-approved amount, even if it is less than they usually charge, they’re accepting assignment.

A doctor who accepts assignment agrees to charge you no more than the amount Medicare has approved for that service. By comparison, a doctor who participates in Medicare but doesn’t accept assignment can potentially charge you up to 15 percent more than the Medicare-approved amount.

That’s why it’s important to ask if a provider accepts assignment before you receive care, even if they accept Medicare patients. If a doctor doesn’t accept assignment, you will pay more for that physician’s services compared with one who does.

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How much do I pay if my doctor accepts assignment?

If your doctor accepts assignment, you will usually pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the service, called coinsurance, after you’ve paid the annual deductible. Because Medicare Part B covers doctor and outpatient services, your $240 deductible for Part B in 2024 applies before most coverage begins.

All providers who accept assignment must submit claims directly to Medicare, which pays 80 percent of the approved cost for the service and will bill you the remaining 20 percent. You can get some preventive services and screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies , without paying a deductible or coinsurance if the provider accepts assignment. 

What if my doctor doesn’t accept assignment?

A doctor who takes Medicare but doesn’t accept assignment can still treat Medicare patients but won’t always accept the Medicare-approved amount as payment in full.

This means they can charge you up to a maximum of 15 percent more than Medicare pays for the service you receive, called “balance billing.” In this case, you’re responsible for the additional charge, plus the regular 20 percent coinsurance, as your share of the cost.

How to cover the extra cost? If you have a Medicare supplement policy , better known as Medigap, it may cover the extra 15 percent, called Medicare Part B excess charges.

All Medigap policies cover Part B’s 20 percent coinsurance in full or in part. The F and G policies cover the 15 percent excess charges from doctors who don’t accept assignment, but Plan F is no longer available to new enrollees, only those eligible for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020, even if they haven’t enrolled in Medicare yet. However, anyone who is enrolled in original Medicare can apply for Plan G.

Remember that Medigap policies only cover excess charges for doctors who accept Medicare but don’t accept assignment, and they won’t cover costs for doctors who opt out of Medicare entirely.

Good to know. A few states limit the amount of excess fees a doctor can charge Medicare patients. For example, Massachusetts and Ohio prohibit balance billing, requiring doctors who accept Medicare to take the Medicare-approved amount. New York limits excess charges to 5 percent over the Medicare-approved amount for most services, rather than 15 percent.

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How do I find doctors who accept assignment?

Before you start working with a new doctor, ask whether he or she accepts assignment. About 98 percent of providers billing Medicare are participating providers, which means they accept assignment on all Medicare claims, according to KFF.

You can get help finding doctors and other providers in your area who accept assignment by zip code using Medicare’s Physician Compare tool .

Those who accept assignment have this note under the name: “Charges the Medicare-approved amount (so you pay less out of pocket).” However, not all doctors who accept assignment are accepting new Medicare patients.

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What does it mean if a doctor opts out of Medicare?

Doctors who opt out of Medicare can’t bill Medicare for services you receive. They also aren’t bound by Medicare’s limitations on charges.

In this case, you enter into a private contract with the provider and agree to pay the full bill. Be aware that neither Medicare nor your Medigap plan will reimburse you for these charges.

In 2023, only 1 percent of physicians who aren’t pediatricians opted out of the Medicare program, according to KFF. The percentage is larger for some specialties — 7.7 percent of psychiatrists and 4.2 percent of plastic and reconstructive surgeons have opted out of Medicare.

Keep in mind

These rules apply to original Medicare. Other factors determine costs if you choose to get coverage through a private Medicare Advantage plan . Most Medicare Advantage plans have provider networks, and they may charge more or not cover services from out-of-network providers.

Before choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, find out whether your chosen doctor or provider is covered and identify how much you’ll pay. You can use the Medicare Plan Finder to compare the Medicare Advantage plans and their out-of-pocket costs in your area.

Return to Medicare Q&A main page

Kimberly Lankford is a contributing writer who covers Medicare and personal finance. She wrote about insurance, Medicare, retirement and taxes for more than 20 years at  Kiplinger’s Personal Finance  and has written for  The Washington Post  and  Boston Globe . She received the personal finance Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the New York State Society of CPAs’ excellence in financial journalism award for her guide to Medicare.

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Wage assignment and employers’ responsibilities

Business Management Daily Editors

Tough economic times raise some tricky HR issues—for example, when an employee’s financial straits begin to affect his employer.

Must we honor a payday loan wage assignment?

Q. An employee borrowed money from a payday loan service at a very high interest rate that I feel is unfair. The payday loan service sent me a “wage assignment” notice and told me that our company must withhold money from his paychecks.  What is a wage assignment, and does our company actually have to honor it? A. A wage assignment is a document that allows a creditor to attach part of the employee’s wages if the employee fails to pay a specific debt. The creditor does not have to obtain a judgment in a court proceeding before requesting payment. Under the Illinois Wage Assignment Act (740 ILCS 170), private employers are obligated to honor a creditor’s properly served demand for a valid wage assignment, unless an employee presents a timely, valid , written defense to the wage assignment.

What constitutes a valid assignment?

Q. How can I tell if a wage assignment is valid? How long is it valid? A. A valid wage assignment document must have the words “Wage Assignment” printed or written in boldface letters of not less than ¼ inch in height at the head of the wage assignment and one inch above or below the line where the employee signs the assignment. The employee must have signed the document in person, and the document must show the date of execution, the employee’s Social Security number, the name of the employer at the time of execution, the amount of money loaned or the price of the articles sold or other consideration given, the rate of interest or time-price differential to be paid, if any, and the date on which such payments are due. A wage assignment is valid for no more than three years after the employee signs it and the employer’s name appears on it. If the employee changes jobs, the wage assignment is valid for two years, even though the new employer’s name does not appear on the assignment.

Handling wage assignments

Q. How does the wage assignment process start? A. Assuming that the wage assignment document complies with the formal requirements, the creditor must serve “demand to withhold” on the employer. The demand is valid only if:

The employee has defaulted on the debt secured by the assignment for more than 40 days, and the default has continued to the date of the demand.

The demand contains a correct statement of the amount the employee is in default, and the creditor provides an original or a photocopy of the assignment to the employer.

The creditor has served a “notice of intention to make the demand” upon the employee, with a copy to the employer, by registered or certified mail not less than 20 days before serving the demand.

Putting on the brakes

Q. Can an employee stop the wage assignment process? A. The employee does have a right to contest the demand. If an employee has a legal defense to the wage assignment, the employee may—within 20 days after receiving a notice of demand or within five days after the employer is served with the demand—notify the employer, in writing, of any defense to the wage assignment and send a copy of the written defense to the creditor by registered or certified mail.   As a result, the employee’s wages are not subject to a demand served by the creditor unless the employer receives a copy of a subsequent written agreement between the creditor and the employee authorizing such payments. Similarly, if the creditor receives a copy of the defense prior to serving its demand upon the employer, the creditor may not serve the demand upon the employer.  Whether the employee’s defense is legally valid is not an issue the employer must resolve. Instead, the employee and the creditor may attempt to reach another agreement or the creditor may simply bring a separate lawsuit against the employee to collect an outstanding debt. 

HR Forms D

Calculating the wage assignment payment

Q. How much must the employer withhold—and when? A. The employer must begin payment to the creditor no sooner than five business days after service of such a demand.  The employer must withhold the lesser of:

15% of weekly gross wages

The amount by which the disposable earnings for a week (pay remaining after federal and state taxes, Social Security deductions and any other amounts required by law to be withheld, including required retirement contributions) exceed 45 times the federal minimum wage, unless a notice of defense is received within that five-day period.

The employer shall be paid a fee of $12 for each wage assignment. That $12 is credited against the debt.

WHAT TO READ NEXT

MANAGING REMOTE EMPLOYEES LEGALLY & EFFECTIVELY: The tips you need to manage your team successfully

Mandatory assignment. What hath it wrought in Massachusetts?

  • PMID: 10303437

The national precedent set in 1986--when Chapter 475, mandating Medicare assignment in Massachusetts, became law--has spread across the United States as other states seek to control physicians' incomes under the Medicare program. While some form of mandatory assignment is the law in at least a dozen states, the Bay State's law currently remains the most restrictive in the country. The effects of Chapter 475 continue to ripple through the health care system and are sure to intensify as the national debate heats up over the future of the Medicare program. The article explains the theoretical and practical reasons why mandatory Medicare assignment affects access to medical care, jeopardizes the number of physicians who will choose to treat Medicare patients, and ties the professional licensure process not to clinical expertise but to acceptance of a broad social-entitlement program.

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How Burnout Became Normal — and How to Push Back Against It

  • Kandi Wiens

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Seven strategies to get back to a healthy baseline.

Slowly but steadily, while we’ve been preoccupied with trying to meet demands that outstrip our resources, grappling with unfair treatment, or watching our working hours encroach upon our downtime, burnout has become the new baseline in many work environments. From the 40% of Gen Z workers who believe burnout is an inevitable part of success, to executives who believe high-pressure, “trial-by-fire” assignments are a required rite of passage, to toxic hustle culture that pushes busyness as a badge of honor, too many of us now expect to feel overwhelmed, over-stressed, and eventually burned out at work. When pressures are mounting and your work environment continues to be stressful, it’s all the more important to take proactive steps to return to your personal sweet spot of stress and remain there as long as you can. The author presents several strategies.

If we’re exposed to something repeatedly, it seems we can become desensitized to almost anything. An event that once evoked shock can come to seem routine; what once prompted alarm can eventually inspire no more than a shrug.

mandatory assignment is

  • Kandi Wiens , EdD, is a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the author of the book Burnout Immunity : How Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Build Resilience and Heal Your Relationship with Work (HarperCollins, 2024). A nationally known researcher and speaker on burnout, emotional intelligence, and resilience, she developed the Burnout Quiz to help people understand if they’re at risk of burning out.

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Each week on the assignment, host audie cornish pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people whose lives intersect with the news cycle. from the sex work economy to the battle over what’s taught in classrooms, no topic is off the table. listen to the assignment every monday and thursday..

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And does Country need Beyoncé? The likely answer to both of those questions is no. But the discussion Beyoncé sparked seems to be the larger point of her new album, Cowboy Carter . Sidney Madden is a reporter for NPR Music, and has delved deep into the intricate dynamics of race, genre, and industry politics addressed on the album. Audie and Sidney talk about these bigger themes and explore the conversation that's been started by Beyoncé's latest bold venture. 

Sidney Madden is also co-host of the podcast Louder Than a Riot . 

Watch, “ Call Me Country: Beyoncé & Nashville’s Renaissance ,” available to stream in the U.S. on Friday, April 26 on Max (subscription required). The documentary examines this reckoning in the genre, straight from the country music capital of the world. 

NHL

André Tourigny named Team Canada coach for men’s world championships

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 24:  Head coach Andre Tourigny of the yet to be named NHL Utah hockey team speaks during a news conference at the Delta Center on April 24, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The NHL has allowed the sale of the Arizona Coyotes and the team will relocate to Salt Lake City, Utah.(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Hockey Canada named André Tourigny its coach for the upcoming IIHF World Championship in Czechia next month.

Tourigny accepted the assignment amid a chaotic and hectic stretch that saw him suddenly switch NHL cities. He had been coaching the Arizona Coyotes for the past three seasons, but earlier this month, the NHL’s board of governors approved a plan that would see all of Arizona’s hockey-related personnel move to Utah for the upcoming season.

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Tourigny will be joined by assistant coaches Dean Evason, Jay Woodcroft and Steve Ott for the tournament.

When asked by The Athletic if he considered passing on this opportunity given the tumultuous state of things on the NHL side, Tourigny said he simply jumped on the invitation from Team Canada without any hesitation.

“They asked me if I wanted to think about it. And my answer was, ‘I’ve thought about it. I’m in,'” Tourigny said. “It’s such a privilege and an honor to be the national coach of your team. Every time I have a chance to be in an environment where I have a chance to win, a chance to compete for a championship, you don’t pass on that.”

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Mammoth? Yetis? Ranking 8 possible names for Utah NHL's team

The 49-year-old Tourigny guided Canada to a gold medal as the coach in last year’s event staged in Tampere, Finland. Team Canada captured gold with a 5-2 win over Germany, capping off a run in which they outscored their opposition 13-4 in the knockout stage.

“Last year was the proof for me that commitment is stronger than anything else,” Tourigny said. “We’re extremely proud of that team, extremely proud of the leadership and the way we played in that tournament. We want to build on that and carry on.”

Last year’s roster for Team Canada included a handful of solid NHL players such as Mackenzie Weegar, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton , but did not include any legitimate superstar power. That is expected to change for this year’s tournament, considering it could be an opportunity for players to get on the radar for upcoming best-on-best tournaments such as the 4 Nations Face-Off and the 2026 Winter Olympics. Team USA’s initial roster of 15 players for next month’s IIHF event includes bigger names like Johnny Gaudreau , Dylan Larkin , Brady Tkachuk , Cole Caufield , Trevor Zegras and Zach Werenski .

It’s expected Team Canada’s roster could feature a handful of prominent young stars who are hoping to use the event to springboard their way into roles for those upcoming tournaments.

“For Canada, there’s a lot of good players and at some point, there will be a really tough decision to make for the 4 Nations and the Olympics ,” said Tourigny. “It’s not my job as coach to pick the team, but we believe that when a player has familiarity with the program, it helps down the road. It can help create a familiarity and that can be an advantage down the road.”

In his three seasons as head coach of the Coyotes, Tourigny has compiled an 89-131-36 record in 246 games for a .415 points percentage. But the club has improved its win total in each season under Tourigny’s guidance and finished the 2023-24 NHL campaign with 36 wins and a .470 points percentage.

Required reading

  • André Tourigny’s lifetime of labour shines as Canada’s world junior coach

(Photo: Chris Gardner / Getty Images)

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Ian Mendes

Ian Mendes is a senior writer covering the NHL. Prior to joining The Athletic in 2021, he spent seven years as an afternoon talk show host for TSN 1200 in Ottawa and as a contributing writer for TSN.ca. He also worked as a television reporter and host with Rogers Sportsnet for 12 years and has served as a feature columnist for both The Ottawa Citizen and Today’s Parent magazine. Follow Ian on Twitter @ ian_mendes

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Singapore Changi Airport’s passenger traffic for Q1 2024 exceeds pre-pandemic levels

Friday, 26 Apr 2024

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In an unsettled world, important for Singapore to double down on ties with its neighbours, says foreign minister

In an unsettled world, important for Singapore to double down on ties with its neighbours, says foreign minister

‘work fast to attract mncs from singapore’, singapore’s growth trajectory remains intact and on track for faster growth in 2024.

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SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Some 16.5 million passengers passed through Changi Airport in the first quarter of 2024, surpassing pre-Covid-19 levels on a quarterly basis for the first time, as China became the airport’s top market for the quarter.

This was a 0.5 per cent increase from what the airport handled in the first quarter of 2019, airport operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a statement on April 25.

The airport handled 5.43 million passenger movements in January 2024 (96 per cent of the levels seen in January 2019), 5.35 million movements in February 2024 (104.3 per cent of that seen in February 2019), and 5.73 million movements in March 2024 (101.7 per cent of that registered in March 2019).

In the first quarter of 2023, 13 million passengers passed through the airport.

Changi Airport’s top five markets for the first quarter of 2024 were China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand. In 2023, these were Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand and India, with China in sixth place.

CAG said the roll-out on Feb 9 of a mutual 30-day visa-exemption arrangement between Singapore and China boosted travel between both countries, propelling China to the top spot for the quarter.

For the first three months of 2024, Denpasar (Bali), Manila, Taipei, Seoul and Shanghai were among the top 10 cities that outperformed the first quarter of 2019 by more than 10 per cent.

For the quarter, 89,400 flights departed or arrived at the airport – 94 per cent of the movements in the first quarter of 2019.

In comparison, there were 74,200 aircraft movements in the same quarter a year ago.

Between January and March, traffic to and from most regions recovered to or surpassed 2019 levels, with North America emerging as the strongest performer, with traffic exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 25 per cent for the quarter.

From January to March, airfreight throughput, or air cargo movements, totalled 475,000 tonnes, up 14 per cent from the same period in 2023, marking the first quarter of year-on-year growth after seven straight quarters of decline.

This was due largely to strong transshipment performance, especially for air cargo flows with China.

Speaking at the annual Changi Airline Awards on April 25 at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said Changi’s passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2024 was a significant milestone for Singapore’s aviation industry.

“We look forward to the continued growth of passenger traffic at Changi, and will work towards our goal of exceeding pre-Covid passenger traffic levels for the full year.

“We have seen through the worst of the pandemic and emerged stronger together,” he said at the award ceremony, which honoured the airport’s airline partners for their contribution to Changi Airport’s growth as a global air hub.

Mr Chee outlined several areas to position Changi Airport for future growth, reiterating that construction on the upcoming Terminal 5 is on track to begin in 2025.

The terminal is set to be operational in the mid-2030s.

Aviation workers, he said, will also need to pick up new and relevant skills, and jobs may be redesigned, as the airport taps technology such as automation and assistive tools to augment the human workforce and raise productivity of labour-intensive roles.

Speaking at the ceremony, CAG chief executive Lee Seow Hiang said a shortage of manpower will be a major challenge for Changi Airport in the mid to long term.

“We have done deep automation in the last few years, and we are now on the cusp of a new phase with the impending launch of document-free travel by the end of this year.

“Using your biometrics... as the key to identity verification, we can reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present travel documents... at many touchpoints,” he said.

The improvement will be transformational, Mr Lee said.

“By challenging the conventional norms in our business, we hope to take a step closer to our vision of an airport of the future well before T5 opens,” he added.

Mr Lee also gave more details about a planned new hotel at Terminal 2, the third landside hotel at the airport. Landside refers to areas of the airport that are before immigration clearance and accessible to the public.

He said the hotel – billed as Singapore’s first zero-energy hotel – will be ready in 2028 and have more than 250 rooms, and will be positioned to appeal to the younger set. It will be directly accessible from the terminal’s departure hall via a linkway.

Mr Chee thanked Mr Lee, who will step down on July 1 after 15 years at the helm of CAG, for spearheading Changi Airport’s growth and development.

“Seow Hiang’s vision and steadfast leadership has transformed Changi into a leading global air hub, and taken the airport through the darkest days of Covid-19, and seen through Changi’s recovery after the pandemic,” he said.

Mr Yam Kum Weng, CAG’s executive vice-president for airport development, who has been leading the Changi East project, where T5 will be sited, will succeed Mr Lee.

Mr Lee declined comment when asked by The Straits Times about his post-CAG plans, at the award ceremony.

At the event, CAG named Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines its partner of the year for the carrier’s significant efforts in expanding Changi Airport’s connectivity to China.

The 2023 winner for this category was Singapore Airlines, for its role in driving Changi Airport’s passenger traffic recovery in 2022 as the world rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2023, China Eastern Airlines launched four new links, including a new route from Beijing Daxing International Airport, making Changi Airport its first South-east Asia point. The other new direct links for the airline are to Hefei, Nanjing and Hangzhou.

With the increased services, China Eastern Airlines operated a total of 52 weekly services between Singapore and China as at December 2023. - The Straits Times/ANN

Tags / Keywords: Singapore , Changi Airport , Passengers

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