News Briefs: Aetna Wins Group Medicare Advantage Contract to Connecticut State Retirees

CVS Health Corp.’s Aetna won a new group Medicare Advantage contract to serve retirees covered by Connecticut’s state health plan. Connecticut Comptroller Natalie Braswell on June 1 said the state selected Aetna after a competitive bidding process and that the new contract will save an estimated $400 million over the next three years. Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, Aetna will serve some 57,000 Medicare-eligible retirees and dependents enrolled in the state’s MA plan. Connecticut first adopted an MA plan for retirees in 2018.

After CMS imposed a historic increase to Medicare Part B premiums partly due to cost considerations around Alzheimer’s disease treatment Aduhelm, the agency on May 27 said it will not make a midyear change but will likely lower the Part B premium in 2023. Upon raising the standard monthly premium by $21.60 to $170.10 for 2022, the agency in November said it considered “[a]dditional contingency reserves due to the uncertainty regarding the potential use” of Aduhelm, which was approved in July 2021 and priced at $56,000 per year. After Aduhelm makers Biogen and Eisai, Co., Ltd., cut that price in half starting Jan. 1, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra instructed CMS to reassess the Part B premium. Meanwhile, the FDA issued a National Coverage Determination stating that Medicare will cover Aduhelm only for patients enrolled in randomized, controlled clinical trials conducted either through the FDA or the National Institutes of Health. CMS recommended incorporating the savings realized from this year’s lower-than-anticipated spending into the 2023 Part B premium determination.

© 2022 MMIT
Lauren Flynn Kelly

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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