The Effect of Medicare Part D Coverage on Drug Use and Cost Sharing Among Seniors Without Prior Drug Benefits

March/April 2009
Schneeweiss, S. et al.

Health Affairs-March/April 2009

This study evaluates the effect of Medicare Part D among seniors who previously lacked drug coverage, using time-trend analyses of patient-level dispensing data from three pharmacy chains. Of 114,766 seniors without drug benefits, 55 percent initiated drug insurance under Part D. After the penalty-free Part D enrollment period, use of statins, clopidogrel, and proton pump inhibitors stabilized at levels ranging from 11 percent to 37 percent above the trend that would have been expected if Part D had not been implemented. Patients reaching the Part D coverage gap (12 percent) experienced a decrease in essential medication use ranging from 5.7 percentage points per month for warfarin to 6.3 percentage points for statins.