A recent study from Harvard researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that implementation of the Medicare prescription drug program was followed by a $1,200 decrease in nondrug medical spending among those who previously had limited drug coverage. While researchers were unsure about early indications that newly insured seniors were in fact spending more on prescription drugs than previously, this study found that seniors were experiencing “reduced out-of-pocket costs, and improved medication adherence.” Medicare Part D, therefore, showed significant differential reductions in nondrug medical spending. This reduction in non-drug spending achieved approximately $13.4 billion in overall savings during the first full year of Part D.
The Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) tasked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with implementing the Part D benefit. In designing the benefit to take effect in 2006, CMS took several steps to ensure that Part D plans offered a robust formulary design. For example, a Part D plan must offer at least two drugs in every category or class of drugs (unless there is only one drug in the therapeutic category or class). In designing the two-drug policy, CMS wanted to “ensure sufficient drug choice for beneficiaries.” Click "Read More" to view the final rule.
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