August 15, 2018

85 Percent of U.S. Seniors are Satisfied with Their Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage, According to Nationwide Survey

Morning Consult Poll Shows More than Eight of Ten Part D Enrollees Consider It Important to Have System That Offers Choice of Private Plans 

WASHINGTON –  A nationwide survey of Americans age 65 and older has found that 85 percent are satisfied with their Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage with over eight out of 10 also saying that their Part D plans provide good value.

The survey was performed by Morning Consult this month and was commissioned by the Medicare Today coalition.  Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council and chair of Medicare Today said lawmakers should pay close attention to these findings in determining the future of the Medicare Part D program.

“Ever since Part D was created over a decade ago, there are those who have wanted to change the program’s fundamental structure in which prices are negotiated between plans and manufacturers and consumers can choose from among multiple plan offerings,” Ms. Grealy said.  “This survey shows, as it has every year since the program began, that Part D is exceedingly popular among beneficiaries who value both choice and affordability.  We need to maintain a structure that works.”

Ms. Grealy pointed out, as well, that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ announcement this month that Part D average monthly premiums will drop in 2019 for the second consecutive year confirms that consumer choice and plan competition is achieving cost containment.

The survey also found that:

  • 83 percent of respondents believe it is important to have a variety of Part D prescription drug plans from which to choose.
  • 82 percent said their Part D monthly premium is affordable.
  • 78 percent said their copays and coinsurance are affordable.
  • 91 percent said their plan is convenient to use.

Ms. Grealy said, even with Part D’s success and popularity, Congress still needs to take action to address program challenges.  She specifically mentioned the forthcoming increase in the out-of-pocket spending threshold enrollees will have to meet before they can qualify for catastrophic coverage.  By 2020, that threshold will increase by $1,250, a significant amount of money for seniors living on low or fixed incomes.

“This so-called ‘out-of-pocket cliff’ presents a real danger to many seniors who have significant health challenges and take several medications.  Unless Congress acts before the threshold increases, we could see too many seniors unable to afford medicines they need to protect their health,” she said.