A Wall Street Journal article last month reemphasized what we’ve been discussing in our #MedicareMonday series – Medicare Part D helps save lives. The article discusses new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that found Medicare Part D saved an estimated 19,000 to 27,000 lives in its first year alone by expanding access to medications that treat cardiovascular conditions like strokes and heart disease.
The benefits of Part D aren’t limited to those with cardiovascular diseases. As we discussed in previous #MedicareMonday posts, patients with diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and other chronic conditions and the broader health care system all benefit from participating in the program. Here’s how:
- Part D beneficiaries who previously had limited prescription drug coverage saw a decrease of approximately $1,200 on their non-drug medical spending in the two years following Part D implementation.
- Beneficiaries in the program with little or no prior prescription drug coverage increased their monthly spending on medicines by $27, which was offset by a $46 decrease in monthly medical spending.
- According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco study, an estimated 19,000 to 27,000 more people were alive in mid-2007 because of Part D implementation in mid-2006.
- The study also found that assuming a year of life is worth $200,000, “the additional value of life-years gained is between $3.9 billion and $5.4 billion, which greatly exceeds the additional out-of-pocket costs for cardiovascular-related drugs of approximately $870 million. In fact, the total benefit exceeds the total estimated additional spending on cardiovascular drugs from the program of $3.8 billion.”
To learn more about how Medicare Part D is helping people live longer, health lives, continue to check back with the Catalyst for more #MedicareMondays. We also hope you’ll use the comments section below to share your stories about Part D.
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Allyson Funk Ally is a senior director of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and other public programs. Her previous experience includes leading health communications for a large membership organization, supporting public affairs clients, and working for the governor of Louisiana. Ally enjoys travel, trying new restaurants and spending time with Buddy, her 9-year-old rescue Pomeranian. In the fall, she and her husband are almost always wearing Saints gear.