Nearly 25 percent of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older live in rural areas. Compared to urban beneficiaries, rural beneficiaries spent more out-of-pocket on prescription drugs, on average ($995 rural vs. $780 urban) in 2003 and were less likely to have prescription drug coverage. Spending on prescription drugs that year was the largest single component of beneficiary out-of-pocket spending on health care, excluding the costs of health care premiums.
In this AARP Public Policy Institute Data Digest, Craig Caplan and Normandy Brangan examine the projected out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs by rural age 65+ Medicare beneficiaries in 2003. The report also highlights differences in income and prescription drug coverage among rural and urban beneficiaries. Data presented were derived from the authors' analyses using the Medicare Benefits Model, v5.306. (5 pages)