The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will have sufficient funds to pay full benefits until 2026, according to the latest annual report released Aug. 31 by the Medicare Board of Trustees. That’s unchanged from last year’s report. The HI Fund, known as Medicare Part A, helps pay for inpatient hospital services, hospice care, and skilled nursing facility and home health services following hospital stays. Although reductions in payroll taxes collected by the HI Fund declined due the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was offset by declines in non-COVID-19 care in 2020 and early 2021, particularly for non-emergent services, according to the report.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected Medicare short-term financing and spending, it is not expected to have a large effect on the financial status of the trust funds after 2024,” the report notes. However, the Trustees did note that tremendous uncertainty related to COVID-19-related impacts remains and that “future projections could change significantly as more information becomes available.”
The Trustees also point out that their projections do not reflect the potential effects of Medicare coverage of Aduhelm, the Alzheimer’s disease infusion drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration and estimated to be incredibly high cost.