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Experts analyze benefits, opportunities and challenges of Medicare Part D
Date:6/29/2010

of helping individuals with high financial burden without increasing use among individuals with low financial burden. Part D resulted in significantly increased drug use for those with the highest pre-part D out-of-pocket drug spending relative to individuals with the lowest pre-Part D drug spending burden. Significant decreases in out-of-pocket drug spending for those individuals with the highest Part D out-of-pocket spending relative to individuals with moderate and the lowest pre-Part D drug spending burden were also noted.

Beneficiaries of Medicare Part D must decide whether to enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) and receive other medical coverage through the Medicare Part A and B fee-for-service benefit or to enroll in a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan (MA-PD) providing comprehensive care. Richard R. Cline and colleagues examined factors impacting this decision. For example, individuals living in rural areas, who reported non-white ethnicity, with annual household incomes between $25,000 and $50,000, and who reported knowing their current pharmacist "extremely well" were less likely to enroll in a Medicare Advantage prescription drug program. A wide variety of variables appear to be associated with Medicare Part D enrollment decisions.

Amber M. Goedken and coauthors administered online surveys to elderly Medicare beneficiaries before and after implementation of Medicare Part D to examine the cost-sharing they faced and the medications they used. They found that copayment differentials between generic and brand drugs in three-tier Part D plans were greater than in employer plans. The generic drug utilization rates of the uninsured and beneficiaries with Part D were lower than those of beneficiaries with employer coverage but similar to each other.

The next two articles examine the impact of Medicare Part D on independent and chain pharmacies. James D. Bono and Stephanie Yvonne-Crawford report on focus groups
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Contact: Chris Baumle
c.baumle@elsevier.com
215-239-3731
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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