News Briefs: Groups Sue HHS Over Lost Coverage of Certain Medicare Part B Drugs

The Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Community Legal Services clinic at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law filed a class action lawsuit (Case 2:23-cv-01932-DB) against HHS on Sept. 8 on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries who have lost coverage of certain Medicare Part B drugs. Plaintiffs were receiving the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara (ustekinumab) in an outpatient clinic, where the agent was administered by health care professionals and covered under Part B as an agent provided “incident to” a physician’s service due to disabilities that prevent them from self-administration. In October 2021, HHS denied coverage of Stelara under Part B because it had determined that the drug is “usually self-administered by the patient.” HHS did not notify patients about the change, and it did not require providers to issue a notice. One plaintiff had four injections of more than $40,000 each, while another had two injections of about $58,000 each, before they realized that they were responsible for the full cost of the drug. Plaintiffs are seeking “timely, adequate notice” be required when a Part B drug that has been furnished incident to a practitioner’s service is added to the self-administered drug (SAD) list, as well as a modification to Medicare allowing beneficiaries who cannot self-administer a medically necessary drug due to a disability to be able to receive Medicare-covered medications administered by a health care professional, among other requests.

© 2024 MMIT
Angela Maas

Angela Maas

Angela has an extensive background of editing, reporting and writing for trade and consumer publications. She has written Radar on Specialty Pharmacy (formerly called Specialty Pharmacy News) since she joined AIS Health in 2005 and has broad knowledge of the various issues at play within the space. Before joining AIS Health, she was managing editor at Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit News Canada and managing editor at HemAware (a hemophilia publication), Lupus Living and Momentum (a multiple sclerosis publication). She has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in British literature from Arizona State University.

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