Seniors healthier as a result of prescription drug coverage

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A recent Harvard study credits the Medicare Part D program with keeping seniors healthier and saving $12 billion a year in avoided medical costs.

“I support the Part D program because seniors should have peace of mind when it comes to help with their prescription drug costs. The recent study bears out the success of this important program,” Terry said.

The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard University and published late last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It suggests that the drug coverage is enabling seniors to avoid trips to the hospital or placement in nursing homes, saving an estimated $1,200 in other medical costs per year for each senior. The study focused on seniors who lacked coverage prior to their enrollment in the Part D program.

An Associated Press story on the study showed the effects of the change: “With subsidized drug coverage, seniors can afford drugs that prevents trips to the emergency room by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and controlling diabetes . .. .”. The AP also noted that the new law generates savings since doctors no longer have to admit Medicare patients to a hospital just so they can obtain, for example, treatments involving injectable clot-busting drugs for deep vein thrombosis.

Terry noted that the Part D law has had a lower cost than projected because insurers compete for seniors’ business and enrollment.

(The study, “Implementation of Medicare Part D and Non-Drug Medical Spending for Elderly Adults with a Limited Prior Drug Coverage,” is available at the Journal of the American Medical Association web site in the July 27, 2011 issue:


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