When Medicare Part B Premiums skyrocketed at the beginning of this year TSCL and other seniors’ organizations protested that the increase was way too much and that it would seriously harm seniors with lower incomes.
The huge increase came about because of the anticipation that Medicare would cover a new Alzheimer’s drug called Aduhelm that was extremely expensive.
We covered that story earlier this year but suffice it to say that the drug was, and is, very controversial and had received a contentious approval from the FDA.
Ultimately, Medicare decided that it would cover the cost of the drug only in limited circumstances and as a result, that amount of money Medicare had anticipated spending on the drug far exceeded the actual amount being spent.
Earlier this year Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Bacerra told Medicare to consider lowering the Part B premium this year.
However, it was determined that the legal and administrative hurdles to do so were too high so it was announced last week that the overpayments this year will be factored into the Part B premiums next year.
Medicare officials calculated that if the current situation around Aduhelm had been factored into at the beginning of the year, premiums would have increased 8% instead of the actual increase of 14.5%.
The calculation means that older adults paying average premiums for outpatient services will pay roughly an extra $116 this year due to the impacts of a single, expensive drug.
It is possible seniors will not see a decrease in premiums next year, but instead premiums may hold steady or increase at a slower rate than they otherwise would have, Medicare officials said.