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Medicare Part D 2009 Data Spotlight: Ten Most Common Brand-Name Drugs

This Data Spotlight focuses on Part D plan coverage of the ten brand-name drugs that were most commonly prescribed for Medicare beneficiaries in 2006 and lack generic equivalents in 2009. Findings are based on an analysis of data for the 44 unique, national and near-national stand-alone prescription drug plans. The…

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in 2009 and Key Changes Since 2006: Summary of Findings

Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had access to prescription drug coverage offered by private plans, either stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans (MA-PD plans). Today, more than 26 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare drug plans, including 17.5 million in stand-alone prescription drug plans…

Medicare Part D 2009 Data Spotlight: Specialty Tiers

Most Medicare Part D prescription drug plans use tiers with different cost-sharing amounts for generic, preferred, and non-preferred drugs, and also include an additional “specialty” tier for very high cost and unique drugs. This 2009 Part D Data Spotlight examines use of the specialty tier, including the numbers and kinds…

Choosing a Medicare Part D Plan: Are Medicare Beneficiaries Choosing Low-Cost Plans?

Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had the opportunity to choose from among dozens of plans to get the Part D prescription drug benefit, facing wide variation in benefits, premiums and cost-sharing. The array of choices, with more than 50 stand-alone drug plans in many states, could allow beneficiaries to select…

Primers on Key Health Care Topics and Programs

The Kaiser Family Foundation maintains a number of primers providing overviews of key health care programs and issues. Written by Foundation staff, each primer provides key data and information that helps illustrate the topic and its relevance for the nation's health care system.Medicaid: A PrimerMedicare: A PrimerThe Uninsured: A PrimerHealth…

The Emerging Role of Group Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans

This issue brief examines the recent boom in Medicare Advantage enrollment attributable to employers contracting with Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans to cover their Medicare-eligible retirees. Between 2006 and 2008, the number of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage group plans nearly doubled from 900,000 to nearly 1.7 million as of…

Medicare Part D 2009 Data Spotlight: The Coverage Gap

This Medicare Part D data spotlight examines the coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” in Medicare drug plans available in 2009. While in the gap in coverage, Part D enrollees (other than those receiving low-income subsidies) are required to pay 100 percent of total drug costs until they reach the catastrophic…

Medicare Part D 2009 Data Spotlight: Premiums

This Medicare Part D data spotlight analyzes the premiums charged by the 1,689 stand-alone Medicare Part D plans that will be offered in markets across the country in 2009. The analysis finds premiums charged for Part D plans range widely, from $10.30 per month to $136.80 per month. If current…

Medicare Part D 2009 Data Spotlight: Low-Income Subsidy Plan Availability

This Medicare Part D Data Spotlight focuses on the availability of drug plans for beneficiaries receiving the Part D low-income subsidy in 2009 and changes since 2006. For 2009, fewer than one in five plans qualify for automatic or facilitated enrollment of low-income subsidy beneficiaries, the lowest share since the…