Compliance Disparities with Medicare Part D

By | January 8, 2013

There has been a study to see if Medicare Part D has had any affect on the costs of associated with Medicare Part A and B. The studies have not found a link. That is, Higher spending on Part D does not translate into lower spending on Part A and B.

The study focused on two chronic health problems, diabetes and  heart failure. However, because the problems are long-term and chronic, and Medicare Part D is relatively new, it is unclear whether or not there will be savings in the future.

This article highlights interesting findings concerning patient compliance:

Patients’ access to diabetes and heart failure drugs through U.S. Medicare plans in the first two years of the Part D option did not guarantee proper therapy, researchers at the University of Maryland (UM) found in a nationwide study published today in the journal Health Affairs.

The study revealed that Medicare patients in the northern regions of the nation spent more for Part D drugs for the two conditions and tended to adhere better to taking them than did patients in southern regions.

All of the 10 lowest-spending areas were in southern states, and all of the 10 highest-spending areas were in northern or central states. Of the 50 lowest-cost regions, 43 were south of the 37th parallel, which extends roughly from the Virginia-North Carolina border to central California, and 43 of the 50 highest-cost regions were above that line.


It is interesting that there seem to be no difference in the types of people who received the medications. The difference in costs incurred between the north and south groups was a result of adherence. The people in the northern part or the United Sates kept on taking the medicines and subsequently used more. The southerners were not as compliant because they used less. Still, with the increased compliance in the north, there was no indication of any cost savings in Part A and B.