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The high cost of the Alzheimer’s drug from Biogen (BIIB) is a key reason that standard monthly premiums for Medicare Part B beneficiaries will increase $21.60 in 2022, the largest annual rate hike — in dollar terms — ever for the Part B program. And the higher premium works out to a 14.5% annual boost, which is the third-largest increase in percentage terms.

In announcing the increase, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services explained that there is “significant uncertainty” about the potential use and coverage of Aduhelm, which is being reviewed as part of a National Coverage Determination analysis. A decision is not expected for several months, but if coverage is provided, it could increase Medicare spending.

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