A study by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital Brigham and Women’s Hospital Latest from The Business Journals Avon businessmen fund medical researchOnce-hot Sequoia Pharmaceuticals slips from IPO buzz to empty office spaceNew study looks at waste from defensive medicine Follow this company has found that Medicare Part D, the federal program covering seniors’ medications for certain common conditions, has resulted in lower non-drug health care costs since the program went into effect in 2006.

The study, published in the July 27, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the subsidies on drugs for seniors improved medication adherence, lowered out-of-pocket expenses for seniors, and also prevented costly complications for seniors with chronic health conditions.

Researchers used data from 2004 to 2007 to compare medical spending on nondrug health care before and after the implementation of Part D for 3,463 seniors who had limited drug coverage before 2006, versus 2,538 beneficiaries who already had generous drug coverage before 2006.

The study found that Medicare Part D reduced other health care spending by about 10 percent, or $1200, per patient, after 2006 for those seniors who had limited coverage prior drug coverage before Part D was approved. The study suggested that expensive inpatient care, including hospitalizations, was reduced, while lower-cost outpatient care was not, researchers said.

“These reductions in non-drug spending suggest Part D has not cost Medicare as much as initially expected,” said Harvard Medical School professor and study author Dr. J. Michael McWilliams, in a statement. “The way insurance benefits are designed, physicians are paid, …

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