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Medicare Part D's Effects on Elderly Drug Costs and Utilization

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  • Jonathan D. Ketcham
  • Kosali Simon

Abstract

We analyze Medicare Part D's net effect on elderly out-of-pocket (OOP) costs and use of prescription drugs using a dataset containing 1.4 billion prescription records from Wolters Kluwer Health (WKH). These data span the period December 2004-December 2007 and include pharmacy customers whose age as of 2007 is greater than 57 years. The outcomes we examine are OOP cost per day's supply of a medication, the days of medication supplied per capita, and the number of individuals filling prescriptions. We compare outcomes before vs. after January 2006, for those over age 66 years vs. for those age 58-64 years, adjusting for the under-reporting of certain cash-only transactions in the WKH data. Our results indicate that from 2005-2007, Part D reduced elderly OOP costs per day's supply of medication by 21.7%, and increased elderly use of prescription drugs by 4.7%, implying a price elasticity of demand of -0.22. These effects occurred primarily during the first year of the program. An age- and time-standardized comparison of our quantity results with previous estimates from Walgreens data shows that our findings are 2.6 times as large. We conclude that Part D lowered elderly patients' OOP costs substantially and increased utilization modestly, and note that in comparing results across studies on this topic, magnitudes may vary substantially due to differences in data and methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan D. Ketcham & Kosali Simon, 2008. "Medicare Part D's Effects on Elderly Drug Costs and Utilization," NBER Working Papers 14326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14326
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Duggan & Fiona Scott Morton, 2010. "The Effect of Medicare Part D on Pharmaceutical Prices and Utilization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 590-607, March.
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    3. Margaret E. Blume-Kohout & Neeraj Sood, 2008. "The Impact of Medicare Part D on Pharmaceutical R&D," NBER Working Papers 13857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Helen Levy & David Weir, 2007. "Take-Up of Medicare Part D and the SSA Subsidy: Early Results from the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers wp163, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lakdawalla, Darius & Sood, Neeraj & Gu, Qian, 2013. "Pharmaceutical advertising and Medicare Part D," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1356-1367.
    2. Abe Dunn & Adam Hale Shapiro, 2019. "Does Medicare Part D Save Lives?," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 126-164, Winter.
    3. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber, 2010. "Medicare Part D and the Financial Protection of the Elderly," NBER Working Papers 16155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Maria Polyakova, 2018. "Private Provision of Social Insurance: Drug-Specific Price Elasticities and Cost Sharing in Medicare Part D," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 122-153, August.
    5. Banerjee, Tannista & Siebert, Ralph, 2017. "Dynamic impact of uncertainty on R&D cooperation formation and research performance: Evidence from the bio-pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1255-1271.
    6. Doiron, Denise & Fiebig, Denzil G. & Suziedelyte, Agne, 2014. "Hips and hearts: The variation in incentive effects of insurance across hospital procedures," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 81-97.
    7. Darius Lakdawalla & Wesley Yin, 2009. "Insurer Bargaining and Negotiated Drug Prices in Medicare Part D," NBER Working Papers 15330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Blume-Kohout, Margaret E. & Sood, Neeraj, 2013. "Market size and innovation: Effects of Medicare Part D on pharmaceutical research and development," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 327-336.
    9. Alpert, Abby, 2016. "The anticipatory effects of Medicare Part D on drug utilization," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 28-45.
    10. Alpert, Abby & Lakdawalla, Darius & Sood, Neeraj, 2023. "Prescription drug advertising and drug utilization: The role of Medicare Part D," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 221(C).
    11. David B. Ridley, 2015. "Payments, Promotion, And The Purple Pill," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 86-103, January.
    12. Hall Anne E., 2016. "Estimating Regression-Based Medical Care Expenditure Indexes for Medicare Advantage Enrollees," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(2), pages 261-297, December.
    13. Matthew T. Knowles, 2022. "How access to addictive drugs affects the supply of substance abuse treatment: Evidence from Medicare Part D," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(8), pages 1649-1675, August.
    14. Robert Kaestner & Cuping Schiman & G. Caleb Alexander, 2019. "Effects of Prescription Drug Insurance on Hospitalization and Mortality: Evidence from Medicare Part D," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 86(3), pages 595-628, September.
    15. Francesco Decarolis & Maria Polyakova & Stephen P. Ryan, 2020. "Subsidy Design in Privately Provided Social Insurance: Lessons from Medicare Part D," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(5), pages 1712-1752.
    16. Powell, David & Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo & Taylor, Erin, 2020. "How increasing medical access to opioids contributes to the opioid epidemic: Evidence from Medicare Part D," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    17. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber, 2009. "Medicare Part D and the Financial Protection of the Elderly," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-24, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2009.
    18. Darius Lakdawalla & Wesley Yin, 2015. "Insurers’ Negotiating Leverage and the External Effects of Medicare Part D," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 314-331, May.
    19. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber, 2011. "Medicare Part D and the Financial Protection of the Elderly," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 77-102, November.
    20. Claudio Lucarelli & Sean Nicholson & Minjae Song, 2010. "Bundling Among Rivals: A Case of Pharmaceutical Cocktails," NBER Working Papers 16321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. David Dranove & Craig Garthwaite & Manuel I. Hermosilla, 2020. "Expected Profits and The Scientific Novelty of Innovation," NBER Working Papers 27093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Regulation of private health insurance markets: Lessons from enrollment, plan type choice, and adverse selection in Medicare Part D," NBER Working Papers 15392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Ghosh, Ausmita & Simon, Kosali & Sommers, Benjamin D., 2019. "The Effect of Health Insurance on Prescription Drug Use Among Low-Income Adults:Evidence from Recent Medicaid Expansions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 64-80.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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