Medicare Trust Fund Outlook Improves

WASHINGTON -- Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund will be depleted by 2026 -- 2 years later than last year's projection, the program's trustees said Friday in their 2013 annual report.

The improved outlook for the program was attributed to lower spending for most hospital services -- in particular skilled nursing facilities -- and a large assumed impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2013 report said.

But trustees were "cautiously optimistic" that the slowdown in health spending that has extended the trust fund's life is here to stay, and not a reflection of the slow economy of the past few years.

"What we're finding is that there's a significant transformation of the private and public sector in terms of how payments are made," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, one of the trustees, said at a news conference here. Reforms like creation of accountable care organizations "are significant changes in care delivery that could in fact make sure that there are significant continued decreases in the underlying health costs."

Read the full story here: http://bit.ly/1aJvIEg

Source: Med Page Today