A bipartisan effort to educate members of the public that their Medicare benefits will likely far outstrip their lifetime contributions was the goal of legislation introduced this week.
Bill would detail individuals' Medicare benefits, contributions
The bill, sponsored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), would require all adults over 24 years old to receive an annual statement detailing their lifetime Medicare contributions and benefits.
Specifically, the statement would list their lifetime contributions to the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and provide an actuarial estimate of their future contributions. That trust fund faces insolvency in 2024, the program's trustees reported in May. The second part of the statement will list either their total lifetime benefits received or an estimate of expected lifetime benefits.
The goal of the new bill—and of its House companion measure—is to educate the public regarding the imbalance of benefits to payments that is pushing the healthcare program toward insolvency. For example, a couple each earning $43,000 annually will receive $357,000 in total lifetime Medicare benefits, on average, while contributing $119,000, said Corker, in a written statement. The individual's contribution includes both the employee and employer shares of the Medicare tax.
“Making more information available to the public can help Americans of all ages better understand the system and the challenges it faces down the road,” Bennet said, in a written statement.
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