Strategies Used by Adults Aged 65 and Over to Reduce Their Prescription Drug Costs, 2016-2017

May 22, 2019

Questions for Robin Cohen, Ph.D. and Lead Author of “Strategies Used by Adults Aged 65 and Over to Reduce Their Prescription Drug Costs, 2016-2017

Q: Why did you decide to do a report on strategies used to reduce prescription drug costs in the United States?

RC: Although most adults aged 65 and over have prescription drug coverage through either Medicare Part D or some other source such as private health insurance Medicaid, or VA coverage, previous data indicate that some older adults may still use strategies to reduce prescription drug costs including not taking medication as prescribed or asking their doctor for a lower cost medication.


Q: Do you have data that directly corresponds with this report that goes back further than 2016-2017?

RC: We previously examined this topic using the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. However, this previous report was not solely focused on adults aged 65 and over.


Q: How did the data vary by age, sex and insurance coverage?

RC: In 2016–2017, among U.S. adults aged 65 and over who were prescribed medication in the past 12 months, the percentage who did not take their medication as prescribed or asked their doctor for a lower-cost medication to reduce their prescription drug costs varied by sex, age, insurance status, and poverty status. Among adults aged 65 and over, women, those aged 65–74, those with Medicare only, and those who were near poor were the most likely to not take their medication as prescribed. Adults aged 75 and over, those with Medicare and Medicaid coverage, and those who were not poor were the least likely to ask their doctor for a lower-cost medication.


Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that you did not expect?

RC: No, the findings in this report were similar to those previously published with earlier data. However in this report we were able to expand on previous research by focus on adults aged 65 and over and examine differences by sex, age group, health insurance status, and poverty status.


Q: What is the take home message for this report?

RC: Among adults aged 65 and over who were prescribed medication in the past 12 months, 4.8% did not take their medication as prescribed to reduce their prescription drug costs, and 17.7% asked their doctor for a lower-cost medication. Among adults aged 65 and over, women, those aged 65–74, those with Medicare only, and those who were near poor were the most likely to not take their medication as prescribed. Adults aged 75 and over, those with Medicare and Medicaid coverage, and those who were not poor were the least likely to ask their doctor for a lower-cost medication.

 

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QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Percentages of Persons of All Ages Who Delayed Seeking Medical Care in the Past 12 Months Because of Worry About Cost,† by U.S. Census Region of Residence — National Health Interview Survey, 2012 and 2017

May 10, 2019

The percentage of persons of all ages who delayed seeking medical care in the past 12 months because of worry about the cost decreased from 8.2% in 2012 to 6.3% in 2017, and this pattern was consistent in each U.S. Census region of residence.

Delays in seeking medical care because of worry about the cost declined from 5.8% to 4.4% in the Northeast, from 8.4% to 6.6% in the Midwest, from 8.7% to 7.3% in the South, and from 9.1% to 5.9% in the West.

In both 2012 and 2017, persons of all ages living in the Northeast were the least likely to delay medical care because of worry about the cost.

SOURCE: Summary Health Statistics for the U.S. Population, National Health Interview Survey, 2012. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/ sr_10/sr10_259.pdfpdf icon.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6818a5.htm


Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2018

May 9, 2019

Questions for Emily P. Terlizzi, M.P.H., Associate Service Fellow and Lead Author on “Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2018

Q; How did the uninsured vary by age groups and compare to last year in this report?

ET: In 2018, 9.4% of persons of all ages, 11.1% of persons under age 65, 5.2% of children, and 13.3% of adults aged 18-64 lacked health insurance at the time of interview. In 2017, 9.1% of persons of all ages, 10.7% of persons under age 65, 5.0% of children, and 12.8% of adults aged 18-64 lacked health insurance at the time of interview. However, between 2017 and 2018, none of these differences by age group were significantly different.


Q: How did the uninsured vary by regions in the United States?

ET: In 2018, 7.7% of adults aged 18-64 living in the Northeast, 11.1% of those living in the Midwest, 18.4% of those living in the South, and 11.6% of those living in the West lacked health insurance coverage at the time of interview.


Q: Has there been an increase in the percentage of persons with private coverage enrolled in high deductible health plans?

ET: In 2018, almost 45.8% of persons under age 65 with private coverage were enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The percentage of persons enrolled in a HDHP has increased 20.5 percentage point since 2010.


Q: What is new in this report?

ET: This report provides health insurance estimates for the United States and 17 selected states using a full year of 2018 National Health Interview Survey data. Among adults aged 18–64 the percentage who were uninsured ranged from 4.9% in Massachusetts to 25.0% in Texas.


Q: What is the take home message for this report?

ET: The take-home message from this report is found in the number of Americans who no longer lack health insurance. In 2018, 30.4 million (9.4%) persons of all ages were uninsured at the time of interview. This estimate is not significantly different from the 29.3 million (9.1%) in 2017, but there are 18.2 million fewer uninsured persons than in 2010.


QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Percentages of Adults Aged 18 Years or Older Who Were Told in the Past 12 Months by a Doctor or Health Professional That They Had Sinusitis by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin — National Health Interview Survey, 2017

April 19, 2019

Among adults aged 18 years or older, women (15%) were more likely than men (8.8%) to have been told by a doctor or health professional in the past 12 months that they had sinusitis.

Among men, non-Hispanic white men (10.1%) were more likely than both non-Hispanic black (7.0%) and Hispanic (5.8%) men to have received a diagnosis of sinusitis.

Among women, non-Hispanic white women (17.2%) were most likely to have received a diagnosis of sinusitis, followed by non-Hispanic black (14.3%) and Hispanic (10.2%) women.

Source: Tables of Summary Health Statistics, 2017. https://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Health_Statistics/NCHS/NHIS/SHS/2017_SHS_Table_A-2.pdfCdc-pdf.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6815a7.htm


QuickStats: Percentage of Persons in Families Having Problems Paying Medical Bills in the Past 12 Months by Age Group

April 12, 2019

From 2011 to 2017, the overall percentage of persons who were in U.S. families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months decreased from 19.7% to 14.6%.

Similar trends were observed for all age groups, with a decrease from 23.2% to 16.8% for children aged 18 years or younger, from 20.6% to 15.5% for adults aged 18–64 years, and from 8.9% to 7.7% for those aged 65 years or older.

SOURCE: National Health Interview Survey, 2011–2017 data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6814a6.htm


QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Percentages of Adults Aged 18 Years or Older Without a Usual Place of Health Care by Region

April 5, 2019

 

 

 

Among adults aged 18 years or older, 13.9% were without a usual place of health care in 2017.

Adults in the South (16.4%) were more likely be without a usual place of health care compared with adults in the West (14.4%) and Midwest (12.7%). Adults in the Northeast (9.4%) were least likely to be without a usual place of health care.

Source: Tables of Summary Health Statistics, 2017. https://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Health_Statistics/NCHS/NHIS/SHS/2017_SHS_Table_A-16.pdf.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6813a5.htm


QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Who Met Federal Guidelines for Aerobic Physical Activity Through Leisure-Time Activity by Race/Ethnicity — National Health Interview Survey, 2008–2017

March 29, 2019

During 2008–2017, the percentage of adults aged 18 years or older who met federal guidelines for aerobic physical activity through leisure-time activity increased from 43.5% in 2008 to 54.1% in 2017.

This pattern was seen in each race/ethnicity group shown, with an increase from 33.4% to 45.0% for Hispanic, 34.1% to 44.3% for non-Hispanic black, and 46.0% to 58.6% for non-Hispanic white adults.

Throughout the period, non-Hispanic white adults were more likely to meet the guidelines through leisure-time activity than were non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2008–2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/index.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6812a6.htm