Unequal Access: African-American Medicare Beneficiaries and the Prescription Drug Gap
Publication Date: July 2003
Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change
Series: Issue Brief No. 64
African-American Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older are more than twice as likely as elderly white beneficiaries to report they could not afford to fill at least one prescription in the last year, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Older African-American beneficiaries are much more likely to be poor and to lack supplemental insurance. They also are more likely to live with certain chronic conditions—heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes— that generally require prescription drug treatment. As policy makers debate how to structure a Medicare drug benefit, designing a comprehensive benefit with minimal out-of-pocket costs for low-income elderly Americans could substantially narrow the prescription drug gap between black and white seniors.