Depression in the U.S. affects more than 6.5 million Americans age 65 and older. The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit provides seniors and people living with disabilities access to affordable prescription drug coverage, including treatments for depression and related conditions.
Recent research published in the Journal of Health Economics looked at how the introduction of Part D coverage increased utilization and adherence of medications to treat mental health conditions among seniors. The research found the program significantly improved health outcomes, reducing depressive symptoms among older adults. Since Part D’s implementation, depressive symptoms in Medicare-eligible individuals decreased dramatically due in large part to greater access to available prescription medicines. The program has further helped patients by reducing cost-related medication non-adherence and burdensome out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare Part D created a competitive marketplace that allows older Americans to access prescription drug coverage. Today, there are more medicines in development to treat depression – 34 – than there were prior to the implementation of Part D. To learn more about Medicare Part D, visit our resource webpage at PhRMA.org/PartD and check back next week for more on Medicare Part D.
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Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organizations scientific communications. Before joining PhRMA in 2015, he worked in public affairs for a small firm in Washington, DC and served as Deputy Press Secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Andrew came to Washington, D.C. via Connecticut with a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University where he majored in public policy and government. Andrew is active as a runner and volunteer with the DC Front Runners; most recently serving on its Board of Directors for three years as co-race director. He is also a member of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and mentors students through his alumni association with The Fund for American Studies. Andrew is passionate about scientific innovation, especially for mental illness, and his heroes are the men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.