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Study: Part D Producing Health and Economic Benefits

July 2, 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Good news for seniors and others who take part in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan: The four-year-old program is meeting some key goals, such as producing health benefits. A study by the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has found a small but significant improvement in the health status of those who got the benefit in 2006, compared to the health of uninsured people, according to Deborah Jaquith of AARP-Nevada.

"Not only are they showing some health improvements, which are modest, but they're also showing financial improvements, which is wonderful."

The study found Part D enrollees experienced twice as much improvement battling financial hardship as those who had no insurance. That's the good news. The challenge, Jaquith warns, is that one in eight Nevadans will lose Part D benefits for part of the year because they fall into the coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole." She says AARP has developed a 'doughnut hole' calculator to help them cope, and it's on the Internet.

"The calculator is a really easy way for people to review what drugs they're on and look for generic alternatives and other resources that may help them avoid the 'doughnut hole.'"

Last month, prescription drug makers told Congress they would cut prices in half for Part D enrollees who fall into the doughnut hole.

The calculator is at Information about the study is at

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV