Despite the fact that the decision to severely restrict coverage of an expensive new Alzheimer’s medicine, U.S. President Joe Biden celebrated success on September 27th by claiming that expenditures for tens of millions of Americans enrolled in the Medicare health programme had decreased.
For the first time in more than ten years, Medicare Part B premiums will decrease starting in 2019, according to Biden. This programme covers, among other things, doctor and hospital visits as well as the medications physicians prescribe. According to him, each beneficiary will save more than $60 per year as a result.
At a White House Rose Garden event, Biden told healthcare activists, it’s going to be a blessing for many families.
Some of this will require some time to take effect, but it is locked in, he said. About 35 million Americans aged 65 or older or who are disabled are covered by the government’s Medicare programme. Over 29 million people receive benefits from commercial insurers through Medicare Advantage programmes separately.
The lower rates, according to Biden, are a result of his and other Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to slash healthcare costs and inflation for senior citizens, an important voting constituency in the forthcoming midterm Congressional races in November.
The primary reason for the decline, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages the Medicare insurance plan, is that it only covers individuals enrolled in clinical trials for the Alzheimer’s medicine Aduhelm, made by Biogen Inc.
A contingency margin was built into the 2022 premium to pay for anticipated Part B spending on the brand-new medication Aduhelm. Larger reserves were created as a result of lower-than-anticipated spending on both Aduhelm and other Part B goods and services, the agency stated.
According to CMS, the average monthly premium for Medicare Part B users will be $164.90 in 2023, a $5.20 decrease from 2022. However, the agency has increased 2022 premiums by 14.5%, partly due to anticipated costs for Aduhelm. Prior estimates, premiums for 2022 would have been $160.30 if the medicine had been completely excluded. Therefore, the 2023 rates of 164.90 would have truly represented an increase of 2.8%.
The Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisors, who did not think the drug’s patient benefits were conclusively demonstrated by data, objected to Aduhelm’s approval. The use of Biogen medicine has been significantly constrained as a result of Medicare’s coverage restrictions.