Medicare Part D After 2 Years

Published In: The American Journal of Managed Care, v. 15, no. 8, Aug. 7, 2009, p. 536-544

Posted on on August 01, 2009

by Geoffrey F. Joyce, Dana P. Goldman, William B. Vogt, Eric Sun, Anupam B. Jena

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the broad impacts of Medicare Part D and the extent to which prior concerns have been realized. METHODS: The authors used administrative data to summarize beneficiary enrollment and plan participation in Part D, and compared pharmaceutical use and out-of-pocket spending before and after the introduction of Part D. The authors characterized the benefit designs of the 10 largest Part D plans in 2006 and compared them with the benefit designs of 7 non-Part D plans often cited as examples of low-cost or comprehensive drug benefits. RESULTS: By 2008, nearly 90% of seniors had drug coverage at least as generous as the standard Part D benefit. Excluding premiums, annual out-ofpocket spending in the 10 largest Part D plans was comparable to that of other private and public drug benefits, with the most prominent differences attributable to out-of-pocket spending on drugs not covered in the plan. Poorer beneficiaries have gained the most from Part D in terms of increased access to medications and reduced out-of-pocket spending. CONCLUSIONS: Coverage under Part D is comparable to that under non-Part D plans with respect to key features that are likely to be important to Medicare beneficiaries-access to medications and out-of-pocket costs. Nonetheless, concerns remain over drug pricing and gaps in coverage. The government should continue to monitor the competitiveness of the Part D market to ensure it meets the diverse needs of Medicare beneficiaries.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.