Pharmacy Studies Impact of Medicare_s Capped Prescription Benefits on Patients

Sept. 2, 1999

A study that will be used as a resource for policymakers who design outpatient prescription benefits under Medicare is being done in the UA College of Pharmacy.

Millions of older Americans rely on managed care plans to supplement their Medicare prescription medication benefits. Researchers at the College of Pharmacy are working to understand the effect of those benefits on medication usage and compliance.

Through a grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, principal investigator Emily R. Cox and co-investigators Brenda Motheral and Martin Higbee are exploring how Americans age 65 and older are affected by capped-dollar benefits.

No information exists on the impact of capped benefits on prescription medication use or compliance, particularly among a population of frequent medication users such as the elderly. Cox hopes to evaluate whether patients are taking less medication than prescribed, or possibly stopping medications in order to avoid reaching their maximum allowable benefits.