Table 2-12 and Figure 2-9 show data on spending for prescription drugs by age. There is a notable difference between elderly and non-elderly Medicare beneficiaries. Non-elderly Medicare beneficiaries qualify for the program on the basis of disability or end stage renal disease, and thus may be more likely to need prescription drugs. The spending gap between covered and noncovered beneficiaries is largest for nonelderly beneficiaries, particularly those under 45. Nonelderly beneficiaries with drug coverage spend much more than elderly beneficiaries with drug coverage; beneficiaries under 45 without coverage spend much less than elderly noncovered beneficiaries.
|Age||Covered||Not covered||Ratio, covered/not covered|
|Average total spending||Average out-of-pocket Spending||Out-of-pocket as % of total spending||Average total spending (all out-of-pocket)||Average total spending||Average Out-of-pocket Spending|
|Source: Information and Methods Group, Office of Strategic Planning, Health Care Financing Administration(now known as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS)): Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey Cost and Use File, 1996.|
Figure 2-9. Out-of-pocket and Insurer Spending for Medicare Beneficiaries with and without Drug Coverage, by Age, 1996
Source: Information and Methods Group, Office of Strategic Planning, Health Care Financing Administration(now known as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS)): Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey Cost and Use File, 1996.
Among elderly beneficiaries, spending by those with coverage rises with age, except that it drops slightly for those aged 80 and older. 13 This may be because the sickest among the oldest beneficiaries are likely to be in institutions and are therefore omitted from the data. A similar, but slightly less clear, pattern is present for the elderly without coverage. The gap between those with and without coverage persists, but does not seem to follow any pattern as beneficiaries age.
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