Every year, the Social Security Administration determines the costs associated with the Medicare program and adjusts premiums and deductibles using rules established in the Social Security Act. Following inflation and new costs associated with the services provided to beneficiaries, prices may change in 2024 for individuals receiving both Medicare Parts B and D. There might be some changes tied to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients in the upcoming year, and that’s also something we might take a look at.
Due to the introduction of a new Alzheimer’s treatment to the market, Leqembi, developed by pharmaceutical companies Eisai and Biogen, it is anticipated that Medicare beneficiaries will bear the cost. Consequently, prices for Medicare Part B are projected to rise in 2024. Costs are expected to increase from the current $164.90 to $174.80 per month, marking an increase of nearly $10 per month. Leqembi is a treatment designed for individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and it has proven promising results.
Medicare Premiums to Increase Amidst Rising Costs
The annual expenditure on this Leqembi could make it the third most expensive drug covered by Medicare Part B, according to KFF, a non-profit health research organization. As a result, premiums for Medicare Part B, which are expected to cover approximately 25% of the program’s costs, are likely to rise.
Leqembi and related treatment services could add an extra $5 per month to Part B premiums, bringing the total premium to $179.80 a month, according to a recent estimate by The Senior Citizens League, a non-partisan senior advocacy group.
Most beneficiaries may witness an increase of nearly $15 per month in their Part B monthly premium, with other costs potentially pushing Medicare Part B payments. Take into account that this is an external estimate, and the final number might be slightly different.
Medicare Part B Has Actually Decreased Since Last Year
If Part B premiums increase next year due to the new Alzheimer’s medication, it won’t be the first time, as the last one was actually recent. There was a 15% premium increase between 2021 and 2022, which was significantly above the norm, when another Alzheimer’s treatment, Aduhelm, started to be available in the market. However, Part B premiums decreased by 3% for 2023 in response to Medicare’s decision to limit Aduhelm coverage.
Social Security payments, and other benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or those issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), such as the food stamps, grow every year to deal with inflation, following the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
The Senior Citizens League is currently predicting a 3% COLA for Social Security in 2024, based on the latest government data on inflation. This would be substantially lower than the record-breaking 8.7% increase beneficiaries experienced this year. Nevertheless, the actual impact on individuals’ Social Security checks will depend on the size of the Part B premium for the upcoming year.