June 06, 2022
Medicare Beneficiaries Will See A Premium Cut, But Not Until 2023
Medicare beneficiaries will get a premium reduction — but not until next year — reflecting what U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said was an overestimate of the cost of covering the expensive and controversial new Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm.
Secretary Becerra said the 2022 Medicare Part B premium should be adjusted downward, but that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would not be able to make the change in the middle of the year due to legal and operational hurdles. He did not say how much the premium would be lowered.
Part B premiums jumped by $22 a month, to $170.10, for 2022, in part because of Aduhelm, which was approved despite dubious evidence of its effectiveness. CMS has limited coverage of Aduhelm to use in clinical trials approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the National Institutes of Health.
The Alliance had called for a reassessment of the Part B premium increase back in January. The drug’s manufacturer, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen, cut the cost of the drug in half, but it still costs approximately $28,000 a year.
“It is unconscionable for Medicare premiums to increase by 14.55%, and for one overpriced and unproven drug to play such a significant role,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “2023 can’t come soon enough for seniors who are struggling to pay this year’s higher premium.”