Expenditures for prescription drugs are not covered by Medicare and are thus a potential source of large out-of-pocket expenditures for elderly persons. This study, using a new data source, the 1990 Elderly Health Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), demonstrates that, among elderly persons, insurance coverage for drugs reduces the fraction of household income spent on prescription drugs by 50 percent. Groups most likely to benefit from insurance coverage are elderly women and those with common chronic conditions, low incomes, and rural residences.
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