Prescription drug coverage, health, and medication acquisition among seniors with one or more chronic conditions

Published: November 1, 2004
Category: Bibliography > Papers
Authors: Doescher MP, Fishman P, Jackson JE, Saver BG
Countries: United States
Language: null
Types: Care Management
Settings: Academic, Health Plan

Med Care 42:1056-1065.

Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

BACKGROUND: The unabated rise in medication costs particularly affects older persons with chronic conditions that require long-term medication use, but how prescription benefits affect medication adherence for such persons has received limited study.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to study the relationship among prescription benefit status, health, and medication acquisition in a sample of elderly HMO enrollees with 1 or more common, chronic conditions.

RESEARCH DESIGN: We implemented a cross-sectional cohort study using primary survey data collected in 2000 and administrative data from the previous 2 years.

SUBJECTS: Subjects were aged 67 years of age and older, continuously enrolled in a Medicare + Choice program for at least 2 years, and diagnosed with 1 or more of hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease (n = 3073).

MEASURES: Outcomes were the mean daily number of essential therapeutic drug classes and refill adherence.

RESULTS: In multivariate models, persons without a prescription benefit acquired medications in 0.15 fewer therapeutic classes daily and experienced lower refill adherence (approximately 7 fewer days of necessary medications during the course of 2 years) than those with a prescription benefit. A significant interaction revealed that, among those without a benefit, persons in poor health acquired medications in 0.73 more therapeutic classes daily than persons in excellent health; health status did not significantly influence medication acquisition for those with a benefit.

CONCLUSIONS: Coverage of prescription drugs is important for improving access to essential medications for persons with the studied chronic conditions. A Medicare drug benefit that provides unimpeded access to medications needed to treat such conditions may improve medication acquisition and, ultimately, health.

PMID: 15586832

Prescription Drug Use and Expenditure,Payment,High-Impact Chronic Conditions,Medications,United States,Aged,80 and over,Cross-Sectional Studies,Diabetes Mellitus/drug therapy,Gender,Health Care Surveys,Insurance,Phamaceutical Services/statistics & numerical data,Gender,Medicare Part C,Multivariate Analysis,Socioeconomic Factors,Washington

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