In Annual Report, Medicare Trustees Maintain Prediction that Program Will Remain Solvent Through 2030
July 24, 2015 08:37 AM
On July 23, the Medicare Trustees released the annual report for 2015, maintaining the prediction in last year’s report that Medicare will remain solvent through 2030. Overall, the Medicare Trustee’s 2015 report indicates that Medicare is on solid footing with historically slow cost growth. The outlook for Medicare has improved across several categories compared to last year’s report. The report indicates that Medicare’s improved outlook in recent years may be a result of changes under the Affordable Care Act. Medicare is now projected to remain solvent for 13 years longer than projected in 2009, before the ACA was enacted.
In a statement regarding the report, Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, called the slow cost growth in the report “good news.” “Growth in per-Medicare enrollee costs continues to be historically low even as the economy continues to rebound,” said Slavitt.
In 2014, Medicare provided coverage for 53.8 million Americans with $613.3 billion in total expenditures.Per enrollee Medicare spending growth has averaged a historically low 1.3 percent over the last five years. Over the next decade, per enrollee Medicare spending growth is projected to be 4.2 percent, lower than the projected growth of 5.1 percent in overall health expenditures. The report also projects lower spending for Part A and Part D in 2014, and that 70 percent of Part B beneficiaries will see no increase in their premiums in 2016.
In less positive news, the report’s projected cost growth for Medicare would trigger the Independent Payment Advisory Board in 2017. In June of this year, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation that would repeal IPAB (see previous NAHC Report article here). The National Association for Home Care & Hospice strongly opposes IPAB and recommends that Congress repeal it. Based on the way it was structured, the Board would likely be forced to make short-term Medicare cuts with little oversight that would harm patients and providers.
The report’s findings provide further evidence against any proposed Medicare cuts affecting home health or hospice, or proposals to institute copayments. NAHC will continue to make the case against proposed changes to Medicare that would harm home health or hospice agencies.
To read the Medicare Trustee’s 2015 report, click here.