Establishing the Value of Stable Prescription Coverage for Medicare Beneficiaries

How will future beneficiaries fare under the proposed Medicare prescription drug benefit programs? This research used the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) for 1997 – 2001 to identify gaps in pharmaceutical coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. The researchers (1) characterized beneficiaries who experienced gaps in coverage; (2) identified factors that contribute to lapses in coverage; (3) assessed the impact of coverage gaps on drug utilization patterns and spending; and (4) determined whether coverage gaps adversely affect treatment patterns for beneficiaries with selected chronic cardiovascular conditions.