Drug costs chief concern of Medicare recipients

November 3, 2016

Medicare Part D recipients are most concerned about prescription drug costs-and their co-pay costs are the most important factor when choosing a pharmacy.

Medicare Part D recipients are most concerned about prescription drug costs-and their co-pay costs are the most important factor when choosing a pharmacy, according to a new Walgreens survey.

The survey of 1,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries age 65 and older, conducted by Market Insights Group for Walgreens, also found that some Medicare recipients are confused about many aspects of their Medicare plan and pharmacies.

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One-third of those surveyed did not know they can switch pharmacies outside of their enrollment period, October 15 through December 7. In addition, 21% of Medicare recipients falsely believe that all pharmacies charge the same co-pay.

Additionally, 34% of beneficiaries said they don’t review any aspect of their current Part D plan and 21% said they look at just one part of the plan.

“This latest survey reinforces the need to educate beneficiaries about how plans and coverage can and do change from year to year, as can a person’s health and prescription needs,” said John Lee, senior director of Medicare for Walgreens.  “It’s critical for people to be able to get the medications they need, at prices they can afford.”

When choosing a pharmacy, 30% of Medicare beneficiaries said co-pay costs are the most important factor, followed by pharmacy location (18%) and the opportunity for one-stop shopping (18%).

Meanwhile, 35% of Medicare beneficiaries said prescription drug costs were their greatest concern. In addition, 33% are concerned about expenses associated with assisted living, and 32% are most concerned about hospital and emergency room costs.

 

In an effort to manage costs, 12% of those surveyed said that they’ve delayed filling a current prescription, and another 9% acknowledged skipping occasional doses to stretch medication supply.


“Any time individuals aren’t remaining adherent to medications it’s a concern, as it can pose significant health risks and can also lead to more healthcare expenditures in the long run,” Lee said.

Walgreens helps Medicare beneficiaries find the right insurance plan on a dedicated web site, Walgreens.com/Medicare. The retailer has also teamed up with eHealth, an independent, fully-licensed health insurance broker that works with more than 180 insurance carriers nationwide.