Medicare Part B premiums to decline slightly in 2023 due to low Aduhelm use

The monthly Medicare Part B premium is expected to decline slightly in 2023 due to lower-than-expected use of the pricey Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled the premiums and deductibles for Medicare Parts A and B as well as income-related monthly adjustments for those in Part D. The data come less than a month before open enrollment starts Oct. 15. 

Part B’s standard monthly premium will be $164.90 for next year, down by $5.20 compared to this year’s premium. The annual deductible is also expected to decline by $7 to $226. 

A reason for the decline is the 2022 premium planned for a boost in spending due to Biogen’s controversial Aduhelm, which the Food and Drug Administration approved last year to treat mild cognitive effects of Alzheimer’s. Biogen agreed to lower the price of the drug late last year amid lingering questions over its efficacy and financial impact on the Medicare program.

But lower-than-projected Aduhelm spending and other Part B items “resulted in much larger reserves in the Part B account of the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund, which can be used to limit future Part B premium increases,” according to a CMS release. “The decrease in the 2023 Part B premium aligns with the CMS recommendation in a May 2022 report that excess SMI reserves be passed along to the people with Medicare Part B coverage.”

Medicare Part A’s inpatient deductible that beneficiaries must pay if they get admitted to a hospital will increase by $44 to $1,600 next year. 

In 2023, beneficiaries will pay co-insurance of $400 per day for the “61st through 90th day of a hospitalization ($389 in 2022) in a benefit period and $800 per day for lifetime reserve days ($778 in 2022),” CMS said in the release. 

The agency also released the income-related monthly adjustment amount for Part D, where people with higher incomes pay in addition to their monthly premiums. The exact amount varies based on the income of the beneficiary, with people who earn less than or equal to $97,000 not having to pay anything. Immunosuppressive drug premiums will be $97.10 for next year.

CMS also reminded beneficiaries that starting July 1 of next year people on Medicare will not have to pay more than $35 for a monthly supply of insulin. Congress instituted the monthly cap as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.