Increasing Medicare Part D Enrollment In Medication Therapy Management Could Improve Health And Lower Costs
Author: Bruce Stuart, F. Ellen Loh, Pamela Roberto, Laura M. Miller
Targeting efforts to improve medication adherence, especially among people with high health needs, can improve health and lower health care spending. To this end, Medicare requires that insurance plans that provide prescription drug (Part D) coverage offer specialized medication therapy management services to optimize medication use for enrollees with high drug costs, multiple chronic diseases, and multiple covered drugs. We analyzed a large random sample of Part D enrollees with diabetes, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, to see whether poor adherence to recommended drugs was associated with higher Medicare costs. We found that beneficiaries with poor adherence had higher costs, ranging from $49 to $840 per month for patients with diabetes, for example. However, such beneficiaries were not uniformly more likely than others to be eligible for medication therapy management services. Aligning medication therapy management eligibility with a metric such as potentially preventable future costs holds promise for both improving the quality of care and reducing spending.