Take-Up of Medicare Part D: Results from the Health and Retirement Study
We analyze data from the Health and Retirement Study on senior citizens' take-up of Medicare Part D. Take-up among those without drug coverage in 2004 was high; about fifty to sixty percent of this group have Part D coverage in 2006. Only seven percent of senior citizens lack drug coverage in 2006 compared with 24 percent in 2004. We find little circumstantial evidence that Part D crowded out private coverage in the short run, since the persistence of employer coverage was only slightly lower in 2004 -- 2006 than it was in 2002 -- 2004. We find that demand for prescription drugs is the most important determinant of the decision to enroll in Part D among those with no prior coverage. Many of those who remained without coverage in 2006 reported that they do not use prescribed medicines, and the majority had relatively low out-of-pocket spending. Thus, for the most part, Medicare beneficiaries seem to have been able to make economically rational decisions about Part D enrollment despite the complexity of the program. We also find that Part D erased socioeconomic gradients in drug coverage among the elderly.
The research reported herein was pursuant to a grant from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) funded as part of the Retirement Research Consortium (RRC). The findings and conclusions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not represent the views of SSA, any agency of the Federal Government or the RRC. This analysis uses data from the Health and Retirement Study, sponsored by the National Institute of Aging (NIA U01AG009740) with additional support from SSA. We are grateful to seminar participants at the University of Michigan, the University of Chicago, and NBER for helpful comments, and to Italo Gutierrez and Joanna DeBartolo for excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- Part D erased socioeconomic gradients in drug coverage among the elderly. Before Part D, individuals in the highest education or income...
H. Levy & D. R. Weir, 2010. "Take-up of Medicare Part D: Results From the Health and Retirement Study," The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, vol 65B(4), pages 492-501.