DP8585 | Sinking, Swimming, or Learning to Swim in Medicare Part D

Publication Date

01/09/2011

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Abstract

Under Medicare Part D, senior citizens choose prescription drug insurance off red by numerous private insurers. We examine non-poor enrollees' actions in 2006 and 2007 using panel data. Our sample reduced overspending by $298 on average, with gains by 81% of them. The greatest improvements were by those who overspent most in 2006 and by those who switched plans. Decisions to switch depended on individuals' overspending in 2006 and on individual-specific effects of changes in their current plans. The oldest consumers and those initiating medications for Alzheimer's disease improved by more than average, suggesting that real-world institutions help overcome cognitive limitations.