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Racial and Ethnic Differences in Drug Expenditures and Access under Medicare Part D
Abstract

Abstract:

Little is known about the impact of Medicare Part D on drug expenditures and access among different racial and ethnic groups, and its potential to reduce disparities. Using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey from January 2004 to December 2007, we investigate the impact of Part D on drug expenditures and access among different racial and ethnic elderly Medicare beneficiaries (ages 65 and above). The results indicate that both total out-of-pocket drug expenditures and the probability of having unmet drug needs decreased significantly for Medicare beneficiaries after January 2006. Multivariate regression analyses reveal that total out-of-pocket payments decreased more for African American Medicare beneficiaries (non-dual), and the probability of having unmet drug needs decreased more for Latino Medicare and Medicaid dual eligibles compared with their White counterparts. These results suggest that racial and ethnic differences in prescription drug expenditures and differences in access to medications were reduced under Part D.