CMS expert: Economic crisis could bankrupt Part A in eight years

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Healthcare officials in recent years have projected that the Medicare Part A trust fund would become insolvent by 2019. Now some are saying that the program could run out of money even sooner as a result of the economic downturn.

Richard Foster, chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, projects that Medicare Part A could go broke sometime between 2016 and 2018, according to a report in The Boston Globe. Part A helps pay for nursing home and hospital care as well as care in home health and hospice.

One reason the economic downturn could affect the program, Foster says, is that fewer payroll taxes are being collected at both state and federal levels due to increased job losses. In the event the Part A trust fund runs out, the federal government will continue to pay for most of the services covered by the program, including nursing home care, but will likely only be able to afford 78% of the projected costs, according to the Globe.