The Costs of a Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit: A Comparison of Alternatives

by Dana P. Goldman, Geoffrey F. Joyce, Jesse D. Malkin

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Medicare is the only large health insurance carrier that does not include an outpatient prescription drug benefit. This study reports the results of a model predicting drug expenses for Medicare beneficiaries.

Medicare is the only large health insurance carrier that does not include an outpatient prescription drug benefit. This exclusion is particularly important because the elderly are among the biggest consumers of pharmaceuticals. The principal concern in adding such a benefit to Medicare is the cost of providing access to expensive medications for a rapidly growing elderly population. This study reports the results of a model predicting drug expenses for Medicare beneficiaries.

Table of Contents

  • Summary

    Executive Summary

  • Introduction

  • Acknowledgements

    Background

  • The Plans

  • Economic Issues

  • Methods

  • Results

  • Discussion

  • Conclusion

  • Tables

  • Tables

    Comparison of Features of the Plans

  • Tables

    Expected Number of Medicare Beneficiaries Cover by Alternative Plans

  • Tables

    Type of Insurance Coverage and Drug Expenditures for Medicare Part B Enrollees

  • Tables

    Costs and Benefits Under Alternative Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

  • Tables

    Cost of Medicare Part D Benefit in 2001 Under Varying Assumptions Regarding the Elasticity of Demand for Drugs

  • Figures

    Figure 1

  • References

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