The truth about Social Security and Medicare, straight from the trustees

Trustee Jacob Lew, Secretary of the Treasury.

Trustee Jacob Lew, Secretary of the Treasury.

If you worry about the future of Social Security and Medicare, this is the week to get answers to your questions. The most authoritative annual reports on the long-term health of both programs were issued on Monday, and while the news was mixed, there are reasons to be encouraged about our two most important retirement programs.

Under the Social Security Act, a board of trustees reports annually to Congress on the status and long-term financial prospects of Social Security and Medicare. The reports are prepared by the professional actuaries who have made careers out of managing the numbers and are signed by three cabinet secretaries, the commissioner of Social Security and two publicly appointed trustees – one Republican, one Democrat.

Here are my five key takeaways from this year’s final word on our social insurance programs.