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Costs and Benefits of Elderly Prescription Drug Coverage: Evidence from Veterans’ Health Care

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Author Info

  • Melissa Boyle

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract

This study tests the impact of a public prescription benefit on Medicare-eligible veterans, utilizing a mid-1990s benefit change in the VA health care system. Using data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, I compare prescription spending and utilization, as well as use of other health services and health outcomes for veterans and non-veterans before and after the VA insurance change. Results show that receipt of a publicly-provided prescription benefit leads to an increase in spending on prescriptions, and simultaneously, a decrease in spending on other medical services. On average, every $1 increase in drug spending is associated with a $6.50 decrease in other medical spending, and this change is accompanied by measured improvements in the health of benefit recipients. The benefit appears to accrue mainly to low-income and disabled individuals who typically have higher-than-average medical expenses, and are also more likely to experience substantial welfare gains from the relative income increase associated with the reduction (to zero) in the price of prescription drugs.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/Boyle_PrescriptionDrugs.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0803.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:0803

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Phone: (508)793-3362
Fax: (508) 793-3708
Web page: http://www.holycross.edu/departments/economics/website/
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Related research

Keywords: Medicare; prescription drugs; elderly; veteran; VA healthcare;

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References

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  1. Olga Kiuila & Peter Mieszkowski, 2007. "The effects of income, education and age on health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 781-798.
  2. Lee A. Lillard & Jeannette Rogowski & Raynard Kington, 1999. "Insurance Coverage for Prescription Drugs: Effects on Use and Expenditures in the Medicare Population," Working Papers 99-09, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Dana Goldman & Tomas Philipson, 2007. "Integrated Insurance Design in the Presence of Multiple Medical Technologies," NBER Working Papers 12870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
  5. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  6. Pauly Mark V. & Zeng Yuhui, 2004. "Adverse Selection and the Challenges to Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Insurance," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-22, January.
  7. Mark V. Pauly & Yuhui Zeng, 2004. "Adverse Selection and the Challenges to Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 7, pages 55-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Goldman Dana P & Joyce Geoffrey F & Malkin Jesse Dylan, 2002. "The Costs of A Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-18, April.
  9. Baoping Shang & Dana P. Goldman, 2007. "Prescription Drug Coverage and Elderly Medicare Spending," NBER Working Papers 13358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Nasreen Khan & Robert Kaestner & Swu Jane Lin, 2007. "Prescription Drug Insurance and Its Effect on Utilization and Health of the Elderly," NBER Working Papers 12848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Boyle, Melissa A. & Lahey, Joanna N., 2010. "Health insurance and the labor supply decisions of older workers: Evidence from a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expansion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 467-478, August.

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