Medicare hospital fund to run dry in 7 years, trustees say

The trust fund for Medicare Part A — which covers inpatient hospital and skilled nursing home care — will deplete in seven years, according to the Medicare Board of Trustees' annual report.

Medicare Part A's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will pay full benefits through 2026. That's the same year the trustees' reported last year.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said April 22 that the estimate is a "dose of reality" amid "a time when some are calling for a complete government takeover of the American healthcare system," referencing recent "Medicare for All" proposals.

"If we do not take the fiscal crisis in Medicare seriously, we will jeopardize access to healthcare for millions of seniors," she said.

The trustees said the fund that covers Medicare Parts B and D — which includes physician and outpatient care, and prescription drugs, respectively — will remain in financial balance for all future years because the program is funded through premiums and general revenue transfers. However, trustees predicted costs for Medicare Parts B and D's Supplementary Medical Insurance fund will increase significantly as a share of gross domestic product during the next 75 years.

Combined, Medicare costs will grow from last year's 3.7 percent of GDP to 5.9 percent of GDP in 2038. By 2093, Medicare costs are estimated to reflect 6.5 percent of GDP, CMS said.

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