Medicare Fund to Last Longer Than Previously Thought

Medicare gets a 4-year boost—but disability benefits are disappearing more quickly
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2014 6:14 PM CDT
Medicare Fund to Last Longer Than Previously Thought
This Jan. 11, 2013, file photo shows the Social Security Administration's main campus in Woodlawn, Md.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

If you’ve been nervously eyeing your Social Security and Medicare updates, wondering if there will be anything left or whether a viable health program will exist by the time you punch your final timecard, Uncle Sam has (some) good news: Benefits funds for Medicare are expected to last for four more years than previously expected—now until 2030—and Social Security’s retirement fund should still be able to pay out pensions for a few years after that, according to a governmental trustee report cited in the AP. Experts are attributing the estimated Medicare extension to a slower rise in healthcare costs and hoped-for savings from Obamacare, reports Reuters.

What isn’t looking so hot: disability benefits, which the AP reports are expected to run out by 2016. As in the 2016 that’s two years from now. But just because the trust funds for these programs may be depleted doesn’t mean we’ll be totally out of luck: Reuters notes that, if the government continues to take payroll taxes at its current rate, we can expect Medicare to pay about 85% of costs in 2030, while Social Security would pony up about 80% of disability benefits beginning “in late 2016,” according to the Treasury Department. As for the retirement fund, it's expected to run dry by 2033, says Reuters, or 2034, says AP. In other words: We’d all better start saving a little more—just in case. (More Medicare stories.)

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