Payers Are Reluctant to Offer Commercial Coverage for Alzheimer’s Drug Leqembi

  • Sep 14, 2023

    When the FDA in July granted full approval to the Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi (lecanemab), CMS followed with a swift announcement that Medicare will cover it — although just for people with a specific diagnosis who have a physician willing to participate in a qualifying clinical registry. However, payers so far seem reluctant to cover the drug for their commercially insured populations, which represent a smaller but still important portion of the addressable market for Leqembi.

    Two Pennsylvania-based insurers — Highmark Inc. and Independence Blue Cross — are taking heat for deciding not to cover the drug for their commercial members. A Philadelphia-area neurology practice recently sent them a critical open letter that claims the insurers are wrong to deem Leqembi “experimental.”

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  • Leslie Small

    Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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