Objective: To minimize out-of-pocket prescription drug plan (PDP) expenditures by Medicare beneficiaries.
Study design: Cost-minimization analysis.
Methods: Trained student pharmacists from 6 California pharmacy schools provided expert guidance on Medicare Part D PDPs to beneficiaries through interventions at statewide outreach events. Demographic and insurance information for 2008 was collected via survey. Cost information for the beneficiary's current PDP for 2008 and for the least expensive PDP for 2008 was obtained using the Medicare Plan Finder tool (http://www.medicare.gov).
Results: Data were collected from 250 beneficiaries at 22 outreach events. For the cost-minimization analysis, data were excluded from 72 beneficiaries who were not enrolled in a stand-alone PDP before the intervention and from another 23 beneficiaries for whom information regarding their current PDP or prescription drug profile was incomplete. Of the remaining 155 study participants, 39.4% were male, the mean (SD) age was 74.6 (8.7) years, and they were taking a mean (SD) of 5.3 (3.5) prescription drugs each month. In addition, 68 beneficiaries (43.9%) had limited or no English proficiency, and 85 beneficiaries (54.8%) were enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. In total, 89.7% of beneficiaries could have realized cost savings by switching to a different PDP. The median annual potential cost savings was $98 per beneficiary but this varied as a function of subsidy level.
Conclusion: Targeted community outreach services to Medicare Part D beneficiaries can help optimize patient selection of a PDP, thereby resulting in lower out-of-pocket expenditures.