Did Medicare Part D Reduce Mortality?
54 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2015 Last revised: 13 May 2017
Date Written: February 15, 2017
We investigate the implementation of Medicare Part D and estimate that this prescription drug benefit program reduced elderly mortality by 2.2 percent annually. This was driven primarily by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality, the leading cause of death for the elderly. There was no effect on deaths due to cancer, a condition whose drug treatments are covered under Medicare Part B. We validate these results by demonstrating that the changes in drug utilization following the implementation of Medicare Part D match the mortality patterns we observe. We calculate that the value of the mortality reduction is equal to $5 billion per year.
Keywords: Medicare Part D, prescription drug insurance, mortality
JEL Classification: H51, I18, J14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation