The average senior may spend more on Medicare Part D than they assume. Medicare Part D, also known as the Medicare prescription drug benefit, is a type of federal program aimed at subsidizing the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries in the United States.
Although the plan is aimed at ‘reducing prescription drugs for seniors, some resources assume the senior overspending originates from rising prescription drug costs from drug company greed.
Seniors are spending more on prescription drugs
Seniors were found to have spent more than $368 USD on average on prescription drug coverage through Medicare Part D. This spending was considered much more than they actually needed to spend, according to a Health Affairs study first breaking the news.
The seniors who spent more had their decisions complicated by the large amount of available plans. Seniors who spent more time ‘selecting an appropriate plan’ had difficulties with deciding whether certain plans were a good choice.
Some resources attribute this to the lack of seniors who properly educate themselves about Medicare Part D plans. Others, however, may find that the costs associated with the plans may be too high to start.
There are around 1,700 plans available for current Medicare beneficiaries. These plans simplify purchasing prescription drugs through Medicare Part D. Based on the 2009 data used in the study, that amounted to about ’50 plans per region of the United States.’ The number of options didn’t exactly help seniors choose to spend less. The amount of overspending seemed to increase by around $3.20 for each available plan in a single region.
This may be attributed to the fact that only ‘5.2 percent of Medicare recipients chose the most economic plan available to them.’ This means that seniors have been actually choosing plans not ‘appropriate’ to their financial situation, regardless of the referential materials available that suggested to choose an appropriate plan.
Drug company ‘greed’ may cause seniors to overspend
Beneficiaries who choose more expensive plans had a tendency to over insure themselves due to wanting more features and neglecting the higher cost in premiums. This was one of the main actions driving the overspending. Other seniors, while choosing plans with low deductibles, ended up with higher premiums as a result.
The higher premiums, coupled with the costs of such plans, may be behind the greed some resources pin on prescription drug companies.
Beneficiaries over the age of 70, in particular, were more likely to overspend on Part D plans. Seniors with common medical conditions, like diabetes and chronic heart failure, did choose cheaper plans, in addition to seniors with mental health disorders.
Due to this, older seniors were more likely to overprotect themselves when choosing a Medicare Part D plan. It may be likely that these seniors were choosing higher quality drugs for their health conditions that were, as a result, more expensive in cost.