A new measure of medication affordability.

TitleA new measure of medication affordability.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBriesacher, BA, Ross-Degnan, D, Adams, A, Wagner, AK, Gurwitz, J, Soumerai, S
JournalSoc Work Public Health
Date Published2009 Nov-Dec
ISSN Number1937-1918
KeywordsAged, Data collection, Female, Financing, Personal, Humans, Male, Medicaid, Middle Aged, Poverty, Prescription Fees, United States

This study developed a new measure of medication affordability that examines out-of-pocket drug expenses relative to available household resources. The authors assessed the spending patterns of approximately 2.1 million poor households (< or =100% federal poverty level) of adults aged 51 and older by Medicaid status. The data were drawn from the 2000-2001 Health and Retirement Study. Household spending was categorized into three broad types: basic living, health care, and discretionary. Older (aged 51 or older) poor households without Medicaid allocated about 72% of their total resources ($17,421, SE $783) to basic living needs. In comparison, those with Medicaid had scarcer total resources ($12,498, SE $423) and allocated 85% to basic living needs. Medication costs consumed the largest proportion of health care expenses for both types of poor households (Medicaid: $463, SE $67; non-Medicaid: $970, SE $102). After paying for basic living needs and health care costs, these families had, on average, only $16 left each week. Poor families have very few resources available for anything beyond basic living needs, even when they have Medicaid coverage. There is no great reservoir of discretionary funds to pay for increases in cost-sharing under Medicaid and Medicare Part D.

User Guide Notes


Endnote Keywords

Medical Expenditures/Prescription Fees/Medicare

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalSoc Work Public Health
Citation Key7372
PubMed ID19821195
PubMed Central IDPMC2893303
Grant ListK01 AG031836 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
K01 AG031836-02 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States