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Washington (AP) Medicare’s Part B outpatient premium will jump by USD 21.60 next year, one of the largest increases ever. Officials said Friday a new Alzheimer’s drug is responsible for about half of that. The increase guarantees that health care costs will gobble up a big chunk of the recently announced Social Security cost-of-living allowance, a boost that had worked out to USD 92 a month for the average retired worker.

Medicare officials told reporters on Friday that about half the increase is attributable to contingency planning if the program has to cover Aduhelm, a new USD 56,000-a-year medication for Alzheimer’s disease. The drug would add to program costs because it’s administered in a doctor’s office and paid for under Medicare’s outpatient benefit. The announcement on premiums comes as Congress is considering Democratic legislation that would curb what Medicare pays for medications. The new Part B premium will be USD 170.10 a month. (AP) .

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