The Medicare Trustees recently released their 2013 Report, and it contained some promising news for the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund. The Fund will be able to cover its obligations until 2026, which is an extension of last year’s projection by two years.
The increased solvency of the Trust Fund is good news for both healthcare providers and beneficiaries because it points to the positive financial impacts of current efforts to reduce healthcare spending. Additional good news for beneficiaries included a preliminary estimate of the Part B premium for 2014, which is unchanged from 2013.
The CMS Administrator attributes the increased solvency of the Trust Fund to the Affordable Care Act; however, the Report cites numerous contributing factors, such as lower 2012 Part A spending and potentially lower Medicare Advantage costs.
Opponents of health care reform stress that crediting the Affordable Care Act for the increase in solvency may be premature because the numbers depend on a range of factors, none of which are fully predictable at this stage of implementation.
The actual impact of the Affordable Care Act provisions remains to be seen as does the implications to the Trust Fund. Providers should stay informed about the potential financial impacts of healthcare reform as provisions are implemented in the coming months.