Over 90 Percent of American Seniors Satisfied with their Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage, New Survey Shows
Overwhelming Majority in Morning Consult Survey Say They Prefer Current Medicare Part D Drug Pricing System Over Government Setting Prices
WASHINGTON – A nationwide survey of Americans 65 and older shows overwhelming satisfaction with the Medicare Part D prescription drug program in its current form, with two of every three seniors saying they believe price negotiations should remain in the hands of private sector insurers rather than having the federal government determining drug prices and availability.
The survey of 1,000 seniors, performed by Morning Consult on behalf of the Medicare Today coalition, found that 91 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are satisfied with their current Part D prescription drug coverage, with 86 percent saying their plan provides good value and their monthly premiums are affordable.
Healthcare Leadership Council president and Medicare Today chair Mary R. Grealy said policymakers should pay attention to these results in determining how to ensure that the Part D program meets the needs of the nation’s seniors.
“Seniors are saying, in overwhelming numbers, that the Medicare Part D program is working extremely well for them in its current form. The beneficiary population has not been and is not calling for radical change in the pricing and accessibility of the medicines they need,” she said. “Before systemic changes in Medicare drug pricing are fully implemented, we still have time for Congress and the administration to fully consider what millions of beneficiaries want and need and avoid creating unnecessary upheaval to one of the federal government’s most popular and successful programs.”
Ms. Grealy also noted the earlier announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that average Part D monthly premiums are projected to decrease by 1.8 percent in 2024, raising additional questions about the need for extreme changes in the drug pricing structure.
The Morning Consult survey showed that 67 percent of seniors preferred the current pricing system in which Part D plans negotiate directly with the biopharmaceutical industry, with only 16 percent saying that the federal government should play a greater role in setting prices and determining which drugs will receive coverage.
The survey also showed that 81 percent of respondents are concerned that, if the government sets Medicare drug prices, federal authorities could restrict access to medicines that seniors and people with disabilities currently use. Eighty percent said they worried that government price setting could result in the bureaucracy coming between seniors and their doctors in determining which medicines are best for the patient. A similar number, 79 percent, said government price setting could limit patient access to newer prescription medicines.
Although the drug pricing changes instituted through the congressionally-passed Inflation Reduction Act were politically controversial, the Morning Consult survey showed partisan unanimity among seniors that the current pricing system should remain in place. Only 23 percent of self-identified Democrats said the government should set Medicare drug prices, compared to nine percent of Republicans and 13 percent of independents.
“In the name of fixing Medicare drug coverage, government is running the risk of breaking a program that is giving millions of seniors access to the medicines their doctor prescribes at an affordable cost,” said Ms. Grealy. “Seniors are making their preferences known and Washington should listen.”