Prescription drug coverage and chronic pain

TitlePrescription drug coverage and chronic pain
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsAyyagari, P
JournalInternational Journal of Health Economics and Management
Pagination189 - 200
Date PublishedJan-06-2016
ISSN Number2199-9023
KeywordsChronic pain, Medicare/Medicaid/Health Insurance, Older Adults, Prescription Medication

Chronic pain is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting more than 50 % of older adults. While pain management can be quite complex, prescription drugs are the most commonly used treatment modality. In this study, I examine whether increased access to prescription drugs due to the introduction of the Medicare Part D program in 2006 led to better management of pain among the elderly. While prior work has identified increases in the utilization of analgesics due to the introduction of Medicare Part D, the extent to which this increase in drug use actually improved the well-being of older adults is not known. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, I employ a difference-in-differences strategy that compares pre versus post 2006 changes in pain related outcomes between Medicare eligible persons and a younger ineligible group. I find that Medicare Part D significantly reduced pain related activity limitations among a sample of older adults who report being troubled by pain.

Short TitleInt J Health Econ Manag.
Citation Key8815
PubMed ID27878715