Medicare Part D’s Effects on Elderly Patients’ Drug Costs & Utilization

Elderly patients’ utilization in the first year of Part D increased compared with that of near-elderly patients by 8.1% for days’ supply and 4.8% for the number of individuals filling prescriptions, and their OOP costs declined by 17.2%. Although elderly patients’ OOP costs in the second year were reduced an additional 5.8%,days’ supply increased by only an additional 1.0%. Correcting for the under-reporting of pure cash prescriptions yielded effects of 8.1% and −3.5% for days’ supply and −15.6% and −7.2% for OOP costs in 2006 and 2007, respectively. A standardized comparison with previous estimates from Walgreens data showed that our utilization estimates were 2.6 times larger.

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