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Medicare Part D and the Financial Protection of the Elderly

  • Gary V. Engelhardt
  • Jonathan Gruber

We examine the impact of the expansion of public prescription drug insurance coverage from Medicare Part D on the elderly and find evidence of substantial crowd-out. Using detailed data from the 2002-7 waves of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), we estimate that the extension of Part D benefits resulted in 80% crowd-out of both prescription drug insurance coverage and prescription drug expenditures of those 65 and older. Part D is associated with only modest reductions in out-of-pocket spending. This suggests that the welfare gain from protecting the elderly from out-of-pocket spending risk through Part D has been small.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16155.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16155.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Publication status: published as “Medicare Part D and the Financial Protection of the Elderly,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy , 3(4), November 2011, p. 77 - 102 (with Gary Engelhardt).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16155
Note: AG HC HE PE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Mark Duggan & Fiona Scott Morton, 2008. "The Effect of Medicare Part D on Pharmaceutical Prices and Utilization," NBER Working Papers 13917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Helen Levy & David R. Weir, 2010. "Take-up of Medicare Part D: Results From the Health and Retirement Study," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 65(4), pages 492-501.
  3. Feenberg, Daniel & Skinner, Jonathan, 1994. "The Risk and Duration of Catastrophic Health Care Expenditures," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 633-47, November.
  4. Amitabh Chandra & Jonathan Gruber & Robin McKnight, 2007. "Patient Cost-Sharing, Hospitalization Offsets, and the Design of Optimal Health Insurance for the Elderly," NBER Working Papers 12972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Finkelstein, Amy & McKnight, Robin, 2008. "What did Medicare do? The initial impact of Medicare on mortality and out of pocket medical spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1644-1668, July.
  7. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2004. "On the distribution and dynamics of health care costs," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 705-721.
  8. Jonathan Gruber & Kosali Simon, 2007. "Crowd-Out Ten Years Later: Have Recent Public Insurance Expansions Crowded Out Private Health Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 12858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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