The 2017 Medicare Trustees’ Report brings welcome news, reinforcing that Medicare remains a bright spot in our nation’s health care system.
The Trustees find that the Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund is solvent through 2029—a year longer than previously predicted—and that in 2016 the Trust Fund had a $5.4 billion surplus, with surpluses anticipated through 2022. Further, the Supplemental Medical Insurance (Part B and Part D) Trust Fund remains on firm financial footing, and last year’s warning that 2017 growth would trigger the creation of an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) did not come to fruition.
The Trustees note, however, that this stability is dependent on the assumption that the efficiencies and improvements made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) will be maintained.
“This year’s report gives older adults and people disabilities good news they can be confident and secure about, as downright terrifying changes to Medicare and other programs are contemplated in Congress,” said Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker.“
For policymakers, this means two things: first, we must maintain the delivery and payment reforms underway as part of the ACA, and second, there is time to adopt new strategies to ensure Medicare remains strong, now and into the future, without cutting benefits or harming people with Medicare.
“The Trustees’ findings confirm what we already know to be true: time and again, the ACA is producing positive returns for people with Medicare. It is important to note that a strengthened financial outlook for Medicare means real-world savings for beneficiaries,” continued Baker.
The Trustees also predict that in 2018, the standard Medicare Part B premium will not increase and thus will remain at $134 per month.
“Preventing Part B premiums from increasing year-to-year is significant for the more than 25 million older adults and people with disabilities living on low annual incomes,” Baker concluded.