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Do Drug Plans Matter? Effects of Drug Plan Eligibility on Drug Use Among the Elderly, Social Assistance Recipients and the General Population

  • Paul Grootendorst
  • Mitchell Levine

The 1984 Canada Health Act does not require that the provinces subsidize prescription drugs. Many provinces do, however, provide categorical coverage to the elderly, social assistance recipients and others, although the generosity of coverage is highly variable. A system of parallel private insurance covers the non-elderly ineligible for social assistance. In this study, we assessed the socio-economic, health and demographic determinants of private drug insurance. We also assessed the effect of inter- provincial variations in drug insurance coverage for the elderly and low income on variations in drug insurance coverage for the elderly and low income on their drug use. In addition, using instrumental variables methods, we considered the effect of prescription drug insurance coverage status on drug use in the non-elderly population ineligible for social assistance. Consistent with the previous literature, we find that for most seniors and non-indigent, drug coverage has only minor effects on drug use. The drug use of social assistance recipients was, however, sensitive to even relatively modest copayments of $0-$6.

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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports with number 372.

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Length: 82 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:qseprr:372
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  1. Street, Andrew & Jones, Andrew & Furuta, Aya, 1999. "Cost-sharing and pharmaceutical utilisation and expenditure in Russia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 459-472, August.
  2. P Grootendorst, 1999. "Beneficiary Cost Sharing Under Canadian Provincial Prescription Drug Benefit Programs: History and Assessment," Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series 1999-10, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
  3. Ryan, Mandy & Birch, Stephen, 1991. "Charging for health care: Evidence on the utilisation of NHS prescribed drugs," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 681-687, January.
  4. Leibowitz, Arleen & Manning, Willard G. & Newhouse, Joseph P., 1985. "The demand for prescription drugs as a function of cost-sharing," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1063-1069, January.
  5. Coulson, N Edward, et al, 1995. "Estimating the Moral-Hazard Effect of Supplemental Medical Insurance in the Demand for Prescription Drugs by the Elderly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 122-26, May.
  6. O'Brien, Bernie, 1989. "The effect of patient charges on the utilisation of prescription medicines," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 109-132, March.
  7. Jeremiah Hurley & Nancy Arbuthnot Johnson, 1991. "The Effects of Co-payments within Drug Reimbursement Programs," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 17(4), pages 473-489, December.
  8. Micahael Tomz & Jason Wittenberg & Gary King, . "Clarify: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(i01).
  9. Stephen Smith & Sheila Watson, 1990. "Modelling the effects of prescription charge rises," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 11(1), pages 75-91, February.
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