In the October newsletter, we announced historic cost of living increases (COLA) to Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income federal benefit rates. The new rates are listed in SSA’s SSA’s Fact Sheet on 2022 Social Security Changes. The changes in the federal benefit rate are also reflected in the yearly SSI payment chart published by NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).
We noted that 2022 Medicare changes would be posted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) at www.medicare.gov. CMS recently posted the new Medicare rates, which also unfortunately appear to be historic increases. The Part B monthly premium, most relevant to DAP Clients, is set to increase in 2022 from $148.50 to $170.10. The premium rise is capped for lower-amount beneficiaries whose premium payment are deducted from their Social Security benefits to prevent benefit amounts from dropping below the 2021 payment level. The premium rises, however, the more income the beneficiary receives. The deductible for Part B Medicare is also increasing from $203 to $233 annually.
When announcing the rate increases, CMS attributed the increases at least in part to the high costs associated with Aduhelm, the controversial new Alzheimer drug. But on January 10th, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Beccera ordered CMS to reassess the 2022 Medicare increases based on a dramatic January 1st 50% price drop of Aduhelm. According to Secretary Becerra, “there is a compelling basis for CMS to reconsider the previous recommendation.”
At the time of publication of this newsletter, it remains unclear if and how the 2022 Medicare rates will be changed. But in a further development, on January 11th, CMS announced its preliminary decision that it will only cover the costs of Aduhelm for patients in approved clinical trials. CMS will provide a thirty-day comment period before the decision is finalized.