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Medicare Part D Data Spotlight: Benefit Design

This spotlight examines the benefit design of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) in 2008, focusing on national plans. It shows that in 2008, as in previous years, only about 10 percent of national prescription drug plans offered the defined standard benefit. The spotlight also looks at cost sharing structures, the use of flat dollar copayments, the upward trend in cost sharing for non-preferred drugs, and recent changes in cost sharing levels between 2007 and 2008. The analysis finds that the flexibility of Part D plan benefit design allowed by the Medicare Modernization Act has generated substantial variation across plans and across years, with most plans undertaking modifications to design and cost sharing amounts.

This spotlight is one in a series analyzing key aspects of the Medicare Part D drug plans that will be available to beneficiaries in 2008. Each of the spotlights in this series were prepared by a team of researchers at Georgetown University, NORC and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Data Spotlight (.pdf)