But it remains unclear what the long-term effects of the pandemic will be on the funds and the trustees will continue to monitor developments. Last year’s report did not take into account the effects of the pandemic.
The projections for Medicare are roughly on par with last year’s report.
The trust fund for Medicare Part A, which covers hospital and nursing home costs for seniors, will be depleted by 2026, the same year as reported last year. At that point the program would only be able to pay out 91% of promised benefits.
Medicare Part B, which helps seniors pay for doctor visits and outpatient care, as well as Part D, which covers prescription drug benefits, are “adequately financed into the indefinite future,” the report said. That’s because the law requires automatic financing for them.
At the end of 2020, about 65 million people were receiving Social Security benefits and nearly 63 million were covered under Medicare.
The trustees urged lawmakers to act sooner rather than later to address the long-term shortfall. But Congress has long punted on addressing the solvency of the trust funds. Lawmakers could increase payroll taxes, curtail benefits or enact some combination of both.
This story has been updated with additional details.