Last Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a report that reviewed the Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund for 2023 and determined that cost-savings from unexpectedly low Medicare Part B spending in 2022 could be recommended to drive premium cuts for Part B coverage next year.
The premiums were initially hiked following the announcement of the elevated price for the controversial Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm. According to Fierce Healthcare, CMS initially set the 2022 Medicare Part B premium in November at $170.10 per month, which represented a 14.5% increase year-over-year from 2021’s $148.50. Biogen, the manufacturer of Aduhelm, cut the price from $56,000 to $28,200 in December, which caused U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to instruct CMS to reassess premiums.
From HHS Secretary Becerra, in a statement:
CMS and HHS are committed to lowering healthcare costs — so we look forward to seeing this Medicare premium adjustment across the finish line to ensure seniors get their cost-savings in 2023.
Inside Health Policy reports that President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget projections were in line with CMS’s findings, and found an “excess of assets” in the Part B account of the SMI Trust Fund at the end of 2022. Unfortunately, CMS decided that it would not be “operationally feasible” to do a mid-year administrative premium redetermination and it does not have authority to send premium refunds directly to beneficiaries.
The full report press release can be found at CMS.