Medicare prescription drug plan reduces costs and improves quality of life for seniors


July 27, 2011

Harvard Medical School researchers recently studied the effect of Medicare Part D, a prescription drug plan that was introduced to the federal healthcare program five years ago. The plan saves the program about $12 million per year by keeping seniors out of nursing homes and hospitals, which the study shows is having a positive impact on the health and quality of life for older adults, according to The Washington Post.

"This study…shows how better prescription drugs can generate significant savings in other healthcare settings," said Mark Merritt, the president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. "Many illnesses, hospitalizations and emergency room visits occur because seniors with sub-par benefits didn't have access to the medications they needed."

Every year one in three seniors will experience a fall, which could possibly result in an injury. A medical alert system can instantly contact help if an accident occurs. Fast response to a medical emergency may decrease the severity of an injury, which can lower the medical costs.

Since Medicare Plan D was enacted, the researchers reported that medical spending, other than on drugs, has decreased – especially for acute care. Pharmacy benefit management tools, such as home delivery of chronic medication refills, allow older adults to remain independent longer.

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