Using data from 2003-2005, individuals were grouped according to their average monthly prescription co-payments: low ($0-9), medium ($10-19), or high ($20+). Within these groups, individuals were then further divided by age. This stratification [under 65 years (n=908) and those 65 years or older (n=1144)] was necessary because for those individuals over 65, healthcare coverage is provided in part by Medicare, therefore complete cost data were not available.
The study was co-authored by Alberto M. Colombi, MD, (PPG Industries);
Kristina Yu-Isenberg, PhD and Julie Priest, MSPH (GSK).
Key findings of the study included:
-- High co-payments were associated with lower adherence to oral diabetes
medications for all patients regardless of age.
-- High co-payments were associated with higher total healthcare costs for
patients less than 65.
-- For those under 65, total healthcare costs for the low co-payment
group were 22% lower than the highest co-payment group, amounting to
$3116 per patient per year.
-- For those aged 65 or older, the risk for hospitalizations was 36% lower
among those in the lowest co-payment group.
The current study complements the results of earlier studies from GSK's Health Management Innovations team which indicate that increasing prescription co-payments results in decreased medication adherence. These studies, read in the context of the body of literature on medication adherence, suggest that value-based benefit design can lead to better adherence -- and better outcomes for both patients and employers.
"We have seen in e
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