Trustees project Medicare trust fund will run out by 2028

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The trust fund financing Medicare’s hospital insurance coverage is projected to run out by 2028, according to a report from the program’s trustees, two years sooner than estimated last year.

The report noted that before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the fund was projected to run out as early as 2017. Before last year's trustees report, which projected the fund would run out by 2030, other past projections suggested it would run out by 2024 or by 2026.

The trustees also project a slight surplus in the fund between 2016 and 2020.

Medicare spending per enrollee has grown by an average of 1.4 percent over the past five years, according to the report, compared with a 3.4 percent increase in overall health expenditures per capita during that same period. The trustees expect spending per Medicare enrollee to grow 4.3 percent over the next decade, compared to a 4.9 percent increase in overall health expenditures per capita. 

But while the signs are encouraging, work remains, Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a statement. “With growing numbers of Americans relying on Medicare, it’s our job to continue the hard work to strengthen Medicare and the healthcare system as a whole,” he said.

The report did note that growth in the costs of prescription drugs paid by Medicare outpaces growth in other areas. Medicare Part D spending is projected to increase by an average of 5.8 percent each year through 2025, a rate faster than the estimated increases for Part A and B spending combined.

The trustees also project a slight increase in premiums for about 70 percent of Part B beneficiaries, according to the report, but this will not be confirmed until the final Social Security cost of living adjustment data is released this fall.

To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)
- here’s the statement