Medicare beneficiaries will see a reduction in their premiums, but not until next year
This recent article at abcnews.go.com explains how Medicare beneficiaries will receive a reduction in their premiums, but not before next year. This is due to what Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra recently stated as an overestimate of the cost of coverage for an expensive and controversial new Alzheimer's medication.
Becerra explained that the premium for 2022 should be reduced, but officials were prevented by legal and operational obstacles from making this happen in the middle of the calendar year. The amount of the reduction is unclear at this point. Medicare Part B premiums rose by $22 per month to $170.10 for 2022. This was partly due to the high cost of the controversial prescription drug Aduhelm, which showed only limited evidence that it can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Aduhelm is only covered by the Centers for Medicare (CMS) and Medicaid Services for use in approved clinical trials. Under pressure from Congress and consumers, CMS began to reevaluate the premium rise. Biogen, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drug manufacturer, has reduced the price of the drug by half to $28,000 per year.
CMS pointed out the dramatic reduction in drug prices and limitations on coverage to conclude that Medicare beneficiaries could result in cost savings to the program. According to a report by Becerra, CMS stated that the premium recommendation for 2022 would be $160.40 per month if the coverage determination and price reduction had been in place at the time officials calculated the figure. In the fall, the agency will announce the premium for 2023 Medicare's 56 million beneficiaries.
Becerra also stated that while they had hoped to get there sooner, CMS was not able to deliver the premium reduction in 2022. "CMS, HHS are committed lowering health care cost -- so we look forward seeing this Medicare premium adjustment through the finish line to ensure seniors receive their cost-savings by 2023."