Medicare Part B prices are set to rise in 2022, in part because the Biden administration is looking to establish a reserve for unexpected increases in healthcare spending.
Part B premiums are set to increase from $148.50 to $170.10 in 2022. Annual deductibles will also increase in tandem from $203 to $233.
Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital care, certain home health services, durable medical equipment and other health needs that are not covered under the Part A medical benefit. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said late Friday that it is planning in particular for high prescription drug costs.
For example, the industry is awaiting Medicare's national coverage decision on pricey Alzheimer's disease treatments such as Aduhelm, which could lead to a massive spike in costs for the program with their wide potential reach.
“The increase in the Part B premium for 2022 is continued evidence that rising drug costs threaten the affordability and sustainability of the Medicare program," said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure in a statement. "The Biden-Harris Administration is working to make drug prices more affordable and equitable for all Americans, and to advance drug pricing reform through competition, innovation, and transparency.”
Medicare Part B premiums are legally required to equal 25% of estimated total costs in Part B for people aged 65 and over. CMS is also tasked with setting premiums that ensure the program will be adequately funded.
CMS said that while premiums will rise, beneficiaries should see an increase in their Social Security benefits. For example, someone earning $1,565 per month at present will see a net increase of $70.40 each month, the agency said.
Open enrollment for Medicare ends Dec. 7.