Medicare Monday: How Part D Helps Save Lives

Allyson Funk   |     March 9, 2015   |   SHARE THIS


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.

Read other Medicare Monday posts.   

tn_MedMonGet updates on Medicare and/or other relevant issues here. Get Updates


Allyson Funk

Allyson Funk Ally is a former senior director of public affairs at PhRMA focused on advocacy issues for the biopharmaceutical industry. Her expertise includes Medicare, Medicaid, 340B, health reform and more. Prior to PhRMA, her experience included leading health communications for a large membership organization, supporting public affairs clients and working for the governor of Louisiana.

Topics: Part D, Medicare Monday

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