In what may be seen as more evidence of the American healthcare system’s failures, a newly released study has shown that some senior citizens are forced to forgo prescription medications due to high costs.
The study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health found that beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare’s Part D – a prescription drug plan which covers only up to $2,250 in related expenses creating the so called ‘doughnut hole’ – were much less likely to use prescription drugs than their peers enrolled in Medicare through their employers.
"Our findings raise concerns about whether people with chronic illnesses who lack doughnut hole coverage are able to effectively manage their conditions," says the study’s lead author Dr Yuting Zhang, assistant professor of health economics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
He adds, "Without needed prescriptions, we could potentially see an increase in hospital and physician costs."
The authors suggest a policy change that would mandate the coverage of generic drugs beyond the $2,250 limit through a modest increase in initial prescription co-pays.
President Obama campaigned on the platform of reforming the healthcare system which has left some 40 million American’s without any health care coverage. The new stimulus package also contains provisions for $19 billion in spending on health IT.