Last week, Medicare celebrated 52 years since it was signed into law. In those 52 years, Medicare has provided guaranteed health benefits to millions of older adults and people with disabilities. Today, 57 million Americans and their families rely on Medicare for basic health and economic security and the program remains on solid footing.
In July, the Medicare Trustees reported that the Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund is solvent through 2029—a year longer than previously predicted—and that in 2016 the Trust Fund had a $5.4 billion surplus, with surpluses anticipated through 2022. The Trustees also predict that in 2018, the standard Medicare Part B premium will not increase and thus will remain at $134 per month. This welcome news gives older adults and people disabilities much needed security and confidence in the program, particularly as Congress weighs any potential changes to Medicare’s benefits structure.
While the Medicare program remains on solid footing, it is important to think ahead to the future of Medicare. For Medicare’s 50th anniversary, we listed our 50 wishes for the program. Many of these suggested improvements are still relevant and describe how lawmakers can advance changes to modernize benefits in both Original Medicare and private Medicare health plans and implement solutions to improve how Medicare beneficiaries navigate their coverage day-to-day.