Medicare Part D: early findings on enrollment and choices for rural beneficiaries

Rural Policy Brief. 2006 Apr 1;10(8 (PB2006-8)):1-9.


On January 1, 2006, the Medicare program began offering prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) to over 42 million Medicare beneficiaries. This policy brief provides a first snapshot of enrollment in rural and urban areas across the United States and outlines the early findings from an analysis of plans available to rural persons under Medicare's Part D program. The data in this brief will be updated as new data are available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Key Findings As of March 18, 2006 (date of release by CMS), (1) 59% of rural beneficiaries and 67% of urban beneficiaries have creditable drug coverage. (2) 21% of rural beneficiaries were enrolled in stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs), compared to 13% of urban beneficiaries. (3) 3% of rural beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MA-PD) plans, compared to 16% of urban beneficiaries. (4) In non-adjacent rural areas, 22% of rural beneficiaries were enrolled in stand-alone PDPs, and 2% were enrolled in MA-PD plans. (5) All beneficiaries, including those in rural areas, can choose a PDP option that covers 91% of the top 100 formulary drugs. (6) Average monthly premiums and other plan characteristics for MA-PD plans vary significantly across states-for example (excluding Maine), 2 premiums vary from $6 in urban New Hampshire to $53 in rural Hawaii.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S.
  • Eligibility Determination*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services* / economics
  • Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services* / statistics & numerical data
  • Medicare* / organization & administration
  • Medicare* / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Health Services*
  • Rural Population
  • State Government
  • United States
  • Urban Population