The annual trustees report estimates that the Medicare trust fund will be able to pay all the costs for hospital services of older and disabled beneficiaries until 2028, two years later than the trustees said last year. Their analysis, which also noted an improved outlook for the Social Security trust fund, credited the strong economic recovery following the covid crisis.

Go-Broke Dates Pushed Back For Social Security, Medicare 

A stronger-than-expected economic recovery from the pandemic has pushed back the go-broke dates for Social Security and Medicare, but officials warn that the current economic turbulence is putting additional pressures on the bedrock retirement programs. The annual Social Security and Medicare trustees report released Thursday says Social Security’s trust fund will be unable to pay full benefits beginning in 2035, instead of last year’s estimate of 2034. The year before that it estimated an exhaustion date of 2035. (Hussein and Murphy, 6/2)

The Hill:
Medicare Funding Outlook Improves Slightly

The financial outlook for Medicare improved in the past year, and the program’s funding to pay all the costs for hospital services of older and disabled beneficiaries won’t run out until 2028, two years later than last year’s estimated date. Once the program’s reserves are depleted, it would only be able to cover 90 percent of the expected costs, according to the annual report from Social Security and Medicare trustees released Thursday. (Weixel, 6/2)

The New York Times:
Social Security And Medicare Funds Improved, But The Long Term Is Dire

The forecast for Medicare’s hospital trust fund improved. It is now expected to encounter a shortfall in 2028, two years later than forecast in last year’s report. That change is due mostly to the improved economic forecast, since the program is funded through payroll taxes. The actuaries do not expect the pandemic to have any substantial long-term impact on the trajectory of Medicare spending, according to the report. Spending on many elective services declined during the pandemic, while spending on vaccines and treatment for Covid-19 increased. The actuaries said they expected medical spending to return to its normal trend in a few years. But they noted that there was “a large degree of uncertainty” about the future of spending related to the virus. (Bernard and Sanger-Katz, 6/2)

In other Medicare news —

The Hill:
Progressives Slam HHS Decision To Keep Higher 2022 Medicare Premium 

Progressives are criticizing the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the 2022 Medicare premium will not be cut despite lower-than-expected costs for a new Alzheimer’s medicine. The cost of a premium jumped by $21.60 to a minimum of $170.10 and a maximum of $578.30 in 2022, the largest increase in the program’s history. Premiums are based in part on income and tax-filing status. (Choi, 6/3)

Dallas Morning News:
Irving’s Caris Life Sciences To Pay $2.8 Million Over Delayed Breast Cancer Tests

An Irving-based molecular science firm has agreed to pay $2.8 million to settle a claim that it delayed molecular tests for breast cancer patients in order to receive a higher payout from Medicare. Caris Life Sciences Inc. allegedly violated the False Claims Act by improperly billing Medicare for laboratory tests known as “Caris Molecular Intelligence” and the “ADAPT Biotargeting System.” Two whistleblowers tipped off the Justice Department, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn. Caris did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement. (Skores, 6/2)

Fierce Healthcare:
Steward Health Care Sells Off Medicare Value-Based Care Business

CareMax, a publicly traded value-based care provider, announced acquisition plans that will more than quintuple its current number of covered seniors and open the door to hundreds of thousands more. The company announced Wednesday morning plans to acquire Steward Health Care System’s Medicare value-based care business for a combination of cash and stock valued at roughly $135 million. (Muoio, 6/1)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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