Rising faster than either wages or the cost of living, prescription drug expenditures present a significant burden on the economic well-being of patients in the United States. To curb such financial pressure on government healthcare programs, patients are encouraged to consume more generic medications that can be as much as 85 percent cheaper than their brand-name counterparts. Using the 2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey dataset, this study explores the likelihood that Medicare beneficiaries requested generics from their primary doctors. The logistic regression model includes variables related to beneficiaries’ demographics, health conditions, insurance coverages, doctor-patient relationships, and cost-awareness. The final results align with those of previous studies by suggesting that non-Hispanic black beneficiaries older than 65 and those with higher education were more likely to request generics compared with those of other demographic groups. Other interesting findings show that beneficiaries who had experiences with drug samples, were satisfied with their drug coverage, and were cost- sensitive when shopping for medications tended to request generics more frequently. These conclusions have tremendous implications for policymakers, insurance companies, and generic manufacturers to provide educational programs, advertising campaigns, and financial incentives that promote low-cost generics usage and can save patients billions of dollars in medication expenditures.
In this study I examine the effectiveness of the Medicare Modernization Act’s inclusion of preventive cholesterol screenings with no copay or deductible to Medicare Part B beneficiaries. The screenings were included in the MMA to increase usage of cholesterol screenings among Medicare beneficiaries. Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, I employ a difference-in-differences model to isolate the change in screening rate among Medicare beneficiaries. Using individuals not covered by Medicare as a baseline, I find that in three age restricted samples the rate of screening among Medicare beneficiaries either decrease or keep a constant screening rate, relative to the control group. Overall, the MMA’s cholesterol screening policies are not effective in increasing the rate of cholesterol screenings utilized.
Medicare provides the 65+ population with affordable health insurance. Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006 and provides the Medicare population with prescription drug coverage. We examine the impact of Medicare Part D on the health of the elderly by examining the trends in mortality rates before and after the Medicare Part D implementation. We find that Medicare Part D reduced elderly mortality rates by 2.2%.