Social Security and Medicare Changes for 2014
Denver CO – Congress has announced an increase of 1.5% in Social Security for 2014 thus starting January 1, 2014, all Social Security and Supplemental Security beneficiaries will receive an increase in their monthly benefit.
The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $117,000 from $113,700.
The earnings limit for workers who are younger than “full” retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will be $15,480. Social Security will deduct $1 for benefits for each $2 earned over $15,480.
The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2014 will be $41,400. Social Security will deduct $1 from benefits for each $3 earned over $41,400 until the month the worker turns age 66. There is no limit on earnings for workers who are “full” retirement age or older for the entire year.
Increases in Social Security often result in increased costs in the Medicare Part B costs. However, in 2014, the Medicare Part B premium will stay at $104.90 per month which is usually deducted from the beneficiary’s monthly Social Security check. Similarly, the Medicare Part B deductible will remain at $147 for the year.
Congress did announce increases for Medicare Part A. Most people do not pay a Medicare Part A premium. For those who pay a Medicare Part A premium, the monthly cost varies with the maximum cost of $426 per month.
In addition, the Medicare Part A deductible increased to $1216 per benefit period (every 60 days). The co-insurance for days 1-60 is zero. For days 61-90, the co-insurance is $304 per day and for days 90 and over of lifetime reserve days, the co-insurance is $608 per day. The costs for most individuals who are enrolled in original Medicare are covered by a supplemental insurance. For those individuals who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Health Plan, the co-pay is determined by the Health Plan itself.
For individuals enrolled in original Medicare needing skilled rehabilitation with a three-day prior inpatient hospital stay, the cost is zero for days 1-20 and $152 per day for days 20-100. For those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Health Plan, the cost varies by Health Plan. There is no benefit after day 101 for skilled rehabilitation.
Co-insurance for home health care continues at zero with a three-day prior inpatient hospital stay. The cost for durable medical equipment is 20% of the approved charge. In metro Denver and El Paso, Teller and Park counties, durable medical equipment must be purchased from an approved supplier. Residents in all other counties may purchase equipment from their provider of choice.
Beneficiaries who use the hospice benefit are charged $5 per prescription and $5 per day for inpatient respite care in an approved facility.
Starting in 2014, beneficiaries who are admitted to a mental health facility pay the same deductibles and co-insurance as other hospital stays.
Congress is currently working on “the doc fix”. Since the mid-nineties, Medicare has annually approved and delayed cuts to physicians accepting Medicare payments. Discussions are currently underway to permanently fix the payment such at physicians will not face the annual problems associated with reimbursement. If this bill passes, Medicare beneficiaries should experience a reduction in the number of physicians who agree to take Medicare payments.
For more information on Social Security or Medicare, call 303-333-3482.
Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society since 1982. She has almost 40 years of experience in education and training, advocacy, clinical practice, and research in the field of gerontology. She is an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays State University teaching non-profit management. She can be reached at 303-333-3482 or at email@example.com.