Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Medicare outlook improves slightly, report shows

WASHINGTON — The financial outlook for Medicare has improved because of a stronger economy and slower growth in health spending, and the financial condition of Social Security has not worsened but is still unsustainable, the Obama administration said Friday.

"The projections in this year's report for Social Security are essentially unchanged from last year, and those for Medicare have improved modestly," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said.

The Medicare trustees — four federal officials and two public representatives — said in their annual report that the "modest improvement" in the outlook for Medicare's finances reflected lower projected spending for skilled nursing homes and private Medicare Advantage plans.

The administration said the outlook for the Medicare trust fund was brighter because of the 2010 health care law. It squeezed nearly $500 billion out of Medicare over 10 years, in part by trimming payments to many health care providers, including nursing homes and private health plans.

But the number of Medicare beneficiaries will grow rapidly, to 73 million in 2025 from 52 million today, so paying for the program remains a huge challenge, administration officials said.

Older Americans stand to benefit from the slower growth in health spending. The standard Medicare premium paid by most beneficiaries will probably stay at $104.90 a month, next year, the trustees said in their report.

Under current law, the administration said, Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund will be exhausted in 2026, and the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted in 2033. The administration said in its 2012 report that the Medicare trust fund would run out of money in 2024, and the Social Security fund in 2033. The trustees urged Congress to shore up the finances of both programs.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that Medicare spending per beneficiary had risen just 1.7 percent a year from 2010 to 2012. In the prior two decades, it rose more than 6 percent a year, on average.

Medicare outlook improves slightly, report shows 05/31/13 [Last modified: Saturday, June 1, 2013 1:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.