Medicare Trustees Release their Annual Report
Report projects that the trust fund that finances Medicare’s Part A insurance coverage will remain solvent until 2030, four years beyond what was projected in last year’s report
July 29, 2014 09:11 AM
The Medicare Trustees recently released their Annual Report that found that trust fund that finances Medicare’s Part A coverage will remain solvent until 2030, four years beyond what was projected in last year’s report. Part A covers hospital insurance, along with hospice and a portion of the home health benefit. The Trustees cite several factors for the improved outlook – including recent cost controls that have been implemented – that has reduced per capita Medicare spending. Medicare spending, the Trustees found, will continue to grow at a slower rate than the overall economy over the next several years.
It is believed that the additional years of solvency for the Medicare Trust fund will take some of the immediate pressure off of recent calls to overhaul or cut the program in order to extend its solvency, however there are still vocal calls to change the traditional Medicare system entirely – such as turning it into one of vouchers.
According to CMS:
“A number of factors have contributed to the improved outlook, including lower-than-expected spending in 2013, and lower projected utilization in the types of health care needed by Medicare patients. Medicare spending per beneficiary has grown quite slowly over the past few years and is projected to continue to grow slowly over the next several years. During the past four years, per capita Medicare spending growth has averaged 0.8 percent annually, much more slowly than the average 3.1 percent annual increase in per capita GDP and national health expenditures over the same period.
The benefits of this slower growth accrue to both taxpayers and beneficiaries. For example, although the Part B premium for 2015 will not be determined until later this year, the preliminary estimate in the Report indicates that it will remain unchanged from the 2013 premium for the second consecutive year…
In 2013, Medicare covered 52.3 million people: 43.5 million people aged 65 and older, and 8.8 million people with disabilities. About 28 percent of these beneficiaries have chosen to enroll in Part C private health plans that contract with Medicare to deliver Part A and Part B health services. Total expenditures in 2013 were $582.9 billion. Total income was $575.8 billion.”
Home care and hospice advocates must continue to make the case that the Medicare home health and hospice benefits have been cut too much already and should not sustain further cuts or copays to extend Medicare solvency, reduce the deficit, or offset the costs of fixing the Medicare physician payment formula.
NAHC encourages all of its members to contact their elected officials and urge them to oppose proposals to add home health copays or make any additional cuts to Medicare home health payments.
To oppose hospice cuts, click here.
To view the complete Medicare Trustee’s Report, please click here.