Trustees: Medicare on road to ruin

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

WASHINGTON - Medicare's long-term financial picture looks worse than ever and "solutions can and must be found to reduce the rate of growth in costs," stated Medicare Trustees in their annual report released May 1.
Total Medicare expenditures were $336 billion in 2005. They are expected to increase in future years at a faster pace than either workers' earnings or the overall economy, the trustees stated.
The biggest immediate concern: The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will go bust in 2018, two years earlier than in last year's report, due to slightly higher costs in 2005 than previously estimated and some upward revisions in utilization of services.
For both Part B and Part D accounts, income is projected to equal expenditures for all future years--but only because beneficiary premiums and general revenue transfers will be set to meet expected costs each year, the trustees state in their report.