May 16, 2012
CRS - Medicare: History of Insolvency Projections
"Medicare is the nationís health insurance program for persons age 65 and older and certain disabled persons. Medicare consists of four distinct parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance, or HI); Part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance, or SMI); Part C (Medicare Advantage, or MA); and Part D (the outpatient prescription drug benefit). The Part A program is financed primarily through payroll taxes levied on current workers and their employers; these are credited to the HI trust fund. The Part B program is financed through a combination of monthly premiums paid by current enrollees and general revenues. Income from these sources is credited to the SMI trust fund. As an alternative, beneficiaries can choose to receive all their Medicare services through private health plans under the MA program; payment is made on their behalf in appropriate parts from the HI and SMI trust funds. The Part D drug benefit is funded through a separate account in the SMI trust fund and is financed through general revenues, state contributions, and beneficiary premiums. The HI and SMI trust funds are overseen by a board of trustees that makes an annual report to Congress concerning the financial status of the funds...The 2012 Medicare trustees report projects that, under intermediate assumptions, the HI trust fund will become insolvent in 2024."