Medicare News

July 30, 2015 – The Medicare Trustees project that the trust fund that finances Medicare’s hospital insurance coverage will remain solvent until 2030, unchanged from last year, but with an improved long-term outlook from last year’s report.

Under this year’s projection, the trust fund will remain solvent 13 years longer than the Trustees projected in 2009, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act. “Growth in per-Medicare enrollee costs continues to be historically low even as the economy continues to rebound. While this is good news, we cannot be complacent as the number of Medicare beneficiaries continues to grow,” said Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“That’s why we must continue to transform our health care system into one that delivers better care and spends our dollars in a smarter way for beneficiaries so Medicare can continue to meet the needs of our beneficiaries for the next 50 years and beyond.”

Per-enrollee Medicare spending growth has been low, averaging 1.3 percent over the last five years.  In 2014, Medicare expenditures were slightly lower for Part A and Part D, and higher for Part B than previously estimated.

Over the next decade, and partially due to the cost-containment provisions in the Affordable Care Act, per-enrollee Medicare spending growth (4.2 percent) is expected to continue to be lower than the overall growth in overall health expenditures (5.1 percent).

In 2014, Medicare provided health insurance coverage to 53.8 million people. Total Medicare expenditures were $613 billion, and income was $599 billion.

The average Medicare benefit per enrollee was $12,432, about 2 percent higher than last year. Medicare outlays in 2014 were slightly lower for Part A and Part D, and higher for Part B than previously estimated.

While Part B premiums will be finalized later this year, approximately 70 percent of beneficiaries are expected not to see a premium increase in 2016 because it is projected that there will be no cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits.