The number of seniors with prescription drug coverage has soared since the implementation of Medicare Part D, but some still struggle with high payments, according to a report released this week by the journal Health Affairs. The report, based on a study of 16,000 seniors by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Commonwealth Fund and Tufts-New England Medical Center, found 8 percent of seniors lacked prescription drug coverage in 2006, down from 33 percent in 2005 before Medicare Part D took effect.
But, a quarter of seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D reported spending more than $100 a month on prescriptions, and 8 percent reported spending more than $300.
“The Medicare drug law achieved its primary goal of providing drug coverage to most seniors who previously lacked it,” Kaiser President and CEO Drew E. Altman said in a statement. “But the survey found a significant number of seniors in Part D plans paying sizable amounts out-of-pocket for their medications and delaying or not filling their prescriptions for cost reasons.”
continued…The study found 20 percent of seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D reported delaying or not filling prescriptions due to costs in the past year.
Part of the problem, according to the report, is that many low-income seniors who are eligible for additional subsidies are not receiving them. The study found about half of these seniors were not aware subsidies were available.