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Part D Has Reduced Out-of-Pocket Rx Drug Costs in Diabetes

Decrease in proportion of Part D beneficiaries who experienced coverage gap to 40.9 percent in 2011

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FRIDAY, Nov. 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Medicare Part D has effectively reduced the out-of-pocket cost burden of prescription drugs for beneficiaries with diabetes, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in Diabetes Care.

Yoon Jeong Choi, from Seoul National University College of Nursing in South Korea, and colleagues used Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data for 2000 to 2011 to examine out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs for 4,664 Medicare beneficiaries (≥65 years) versus 2,938 younger, non-Medicare adults (age 50 to 60 years) with diabetes.

The researchers observed an increase in Part D enrollment of Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes from 45.7 percent in 2006 to 52.4 percent in 2011. Following Part D implementation, out-of-pocket pharmacy costs decreased by 13.5 percent for all Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes compared with 2000 to 2005; Part D beneficiaries had 5.3 percent lower costs, on average, compared to those without Part D. For Medicare beneficiaries after Part D, out-of-pocket pharmacy costs decreased by 19.4 percent compared with a younger group with diabetes. From 2006 to 2011, there was a decrease in the proportion of Part D beneficiaries with diabetes who experienced the coverage gap (60.1 to 40.9 percent).

"Although Medicare Part D has been effective in reducing the out-of-pocket cost burden of prescription drugs, approximately two out of five Part D beneficiaries with diabetes experienced the coverage gap in 2011," the authors write.

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