Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Rigorous Analysis Defines Impact Of Medicare Part D

Date:
January 8, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Medical Center
Summary:
The most thorough study to date of the impact of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) found a "modest but significant effect." The benefit led to a 13.1 percent decrease in out-of-pocket expenses for patients and a 5.9 percent increase in prescription use.

The most thorough study to date of the impact of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) found that this benefit led to a 13.1 percent decrease in out-of-pocket expenses for patients and a 5.9 percent increase in prescription use.

Related Articles


Researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center, Harvard University and Virginia Commonwealth University used data from more than 117,000 patients to assess the impact of the new prescription benefit plan. They compare out-of-pocket costs and the number of pills purchased by those who were eligible for Part D with comparable patients who were not. They also compared Part D enrollees to patients who were eligible for, but did not enroll in, Part D.

"Despite extensive debate, it was not clear to what extent Part D would save people money or allow them to obtain drugs they might not otherwise be able to afford," said study author G. Caleb Alexander, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center. "We found that it had a modest but significant effect on both savings and drug use."

In January 2006, the federal government began to implement the Medicare Modernization Act. Part D, the largest change to Medicare since the program began, was created to improve access to prescription medicines.

Prior to and soon after implementation, researchers tried to estimate the impact of Part D. These early attempts had to rely on limited data.

For this study, the researchers were able to capture data from tens of thousands of customers who filled at least one prescription in both the 2005 and the 2006 calendar years at any retail or mail-order member of the Chicago-based Walgreens pharmacy chain.

They compared the purchases of 117,648 patients aged 66-79, who were covered by Part D, with "near elderly" control subjects aged 60-63, who were not yet eligible for the benefit. The data were adjusted for individual characteristics, socio-economics based on the subjects' residential zip codes, and secular trends in drug consumption.

They found that the program saved people who enrolled before the May 15, 2006, deadline about $6 a month and gave them, on average, an extra three to four days worth of one medicine per month. After the enrollment deadline, average savings among all eligible seniors in the study increased to about $9 a month and 14 extra days of medicine per month.

Although their sample may not be nationally representative of all beneficiaries, "our report represents one of the first analyses of the impact of Part D," said co-author Wesley Yin, PhD, an assistant professor in the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar at Harvard. "It reflects the experiences of millions of Americans accounting for approximately 15 percent the market share in the United States."

Furthermore, this study differentiated between the period when subjects could enroll without penalty and enrollment in Part D plans was increasing, and the subsequent period when enrollment was stable. Analysis from this stable period, the authors said, better represents the steady-state impact of Part D on utilization and expenditures.

The authors also found that patients who enrolled early in the Part D program had higher rates of utilization and out-of-pocket costs prior to the Part D period and stood to benefit most from enrollment.

They conclude that Medicare Part D has, indeed, led to savings and increases in prescription drug use by older people. "More research is needed to see whether these effects have any influence on people's health," Alexander said.

The article, released early online at the Web site of the Annals of Internal Medicine will appear in the Feb. 5, 2008, print edition of the journal.

The other authors of the paper are: Anirban Basu, Atonu Rabbani and David Meltzer of the University of Chicago Medical Center; and James Zhang of Virginia Commonwealth University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Medical Center. "First Rigorous Analysis Defines Impact Of Medicare Part D." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108183120.htm>.
University of Chicago Medical Center. (2008, January 8). First Rigorous Analysis Defines Impact Of Medicare Part D. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108183120.htm
University of Chicago Medical Center. "First Rigorous Analysis Defines Impact Of Medicare Part D." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080108183120.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins