The first piece of good news is that the majority of people who pay for Medicare Part B will see NO increase in premiums in 2014. Premiums will remain at $104.90 for most. The few that will see increases will be those couples with modified adjusted gross incomes in 2012 of over $170,000 for couples and $85,000 for singles. In addition, the Part B surchange in 2014 remains the same, and Part D add-on will rise only sightly.
Another important bit of news is concerning health flexible spending accounts. Employees with those plans generally have to empty their account by the end of the year, or by March 15 if their plan allows. This year, for the first time, employers who have amended their plans will be allowed to change them in favor of discontinuing the 2 1/2 month “grace period” in favor of allowing employees to carry over $500 into the next calender year. To allow the $500 carryover, plans must be amended by the end of the calender year. Check with your employer to see if your plan will be changed to allow for the $500 carryover instead of the grace period. It could allow you to set aside some money for medical bills in 2014, helpful, especially if you know of some expensive procedures that you are expecting.