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Prescription for the Future: Medications, Medicare Part D, and Managing Expenses in a Difficult Economy

This and Related Reports

Nearly two out of ten adults age 45 and older are not very confident that they will be able to afford medical care in the coming year, according to this December 2008 study conducted by AARP. The study also asked people about health insurance coverage, us of over-the-counter and prescription drugs, generic drugs, activities related to medication usage, and Medicare Part D.

The survey found that four in ten respondents said they had health insurance coverage through their (32%) or their spouse’s (9%) current employer; one-fifth (21%) reported being covered by Medicare; one in eight (12%) said they had individually-purchased health insurance; one in ten (10%) noted having a retiree health benefit from their own or their spouse’s former employer; and nearly one in 10 (8%) reported that they had no health insurance coverage.

Other key findings include:

  • While six in ten respondents said they are either extremely (26%) or very confident (33%) that they will be able to afford medical care next year, nearly one-fifth said they are either not very (9%) or not at all confident (10%) that they will be able to afford such care.
  • About one-third of respondents (35%) said they take one or two over-the-counter medications on a regular basis, three in ten (28%) take three to six, and about one in eleven (9%) take seven or more.
  • Nearly two in ten respondents (17%) said they are not very (9%) or not at all confident (8%) that they will be able to afford all their prescription drugs next year.
  • Among those respondents age 65 and older enrolled in Medicare Part D, nearly one-quarter (23%) said they enrolled in the plan because they turned 65, about one-fifth (21%) said they enrolled because they have high drug costs, and about one in six said they enrolled because they thought they would save money (17%) or because they wanted to be able to budget their monthly expenses (16%).

Telephone interviews were conducted by Woelfel Research, Inc., for AARP with a sample of 1,001 adults aged 45 and older during November 2008. Quotas were established so that half the respondents (501) were age 45-64 and the other half (500) were age 65 and older. Further information about this report may be obtained by contacting Teresa Keenan, PhD, at 202-434-6274. (34 pages)

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