2022 Medicare Part B Premium Increase Reasons

Over the last few weeks we have been monitoring the situation related to the historically large Medicare Part B Standard Premium increase for 2022 from $148.50 (2021) to $170.10. This affects the vast majority of seniors on fixed incomes who are on Medicare Part B.

Some reasoning for this large increase is due to the fact the CMS, the government entity that directly oversees Medicare;

  1. Artificially lowered the projected increase from 2020 to 2021 due to Covid. In simple terms, they need to recoup their loses from 2021 in 2022.
  2. Another big factor is the new controversial Alzheimer therapy drug, Aduhelm.  This drug pulled a “rabbit out of the hat” gaining FDA approval in June of 2021. We won’t discuss in detail what went on behind the scenes but check out this article.

The initial price tag was $56,000 PER PERSON PER YEAR. Sales have been very slow as many prestigious providers such as the Cleveland Clinic and others have refused to prescribe this drug. This is in part due to the price and lack of clear proven benefits with potential big adverse side affects.

Bear in mind, this drug, Aduhelm, can only be given at a medical clinic not a pharmacy.  So it also comes with higher ancillary cost such as the cost of the clinic, clinicians, MRI’s and CT scans related to taking this drug. That being said, the manufacturer, Biogen, has recently slashed the price in half.  They took it down to $28,200 (imagine that!) with the slow sales. Also, CMS has made a preliminary decision to only cover this drug for a small select ‘case study’ grouping of people.

The Kaiser Foundation determined that if 1 in 4 people with Alzheimer’s were to take this drug at the original price tag of 56k, the it would have cost Medicare another $28 billion.   This would almost double what Medicare Part B pays for ALL existing Part B outpatient drugs COMBINED. Thus the huge increase in Part B Premium, as CMS was trying to create a reserve to help cover the potential cost.

2022 Medicare Part B Premium Increase Reasons and Now a Possible Decrease

So where are we at now?  The HHS director and others have recently demanded that CMS re-adjust the 2022 Part B Premium from $170.10 downward to a more nominal increase. This is unprecedented. People on Medicare may be getting refunds!  Nothing is for sure however. Please check out our You Tube channel for updates.

Video #1 and Video #2 we made on Aduhelm.