Today, the Medicare Trustees issued their annual report on Medicare's financial status. According to this year's report, the Part A (Hospital Insurance) Trust Fund has sufficient reserves to fully pay Medicare benefits until 2026 – two more years than projected in last year's report.
Since 1970, the Trustees have projected the Medicare Trust Fund would be insolvent in as little as four years or as much as twenty-eight years. The longest projected solvency period occurred in years in which the country experienced high economic growth and budget surpluses.
The upswing in the nation's economy, coupled with lower health care costs, contributed to this year's positive news for Medicare. Medicare spending per beneficiary has grown quite slowly recently, and is projected to continue growing slowly. As noted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in a press release concerning today's Trustees' report, "Thanks in part to the cost controls implemented in the Affordable Care Act, spending is projected to continue to grow slower than the overall economy for the next several years."
Judith Stein, Executive Director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, concluded: "Contrary to repeated assertions and popular belief, Medicare is not going bankrupt! It is a successful, cost-effective program. To ensure Medicare remains on solid financial footing, we should continue to let reforms in the Affordable Care Act do their job, and reduce Medicare costs for prescription drugs and private plans. The Trustees Report gives us confidence that these actions will keep Medicare strong for generations – without shifting additional costs to Medicare beneficiaries."