Access to medications for medicare enrollees related to race/ethnicity: Results from the 2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey
Prescription medications are taken by millions of Americans to manage chronic conditions and treat acute conditions. These medications, however, are not equally accessible to all.Objective:
To examine medication access by race/ethnicity among Medicare beneficiaries.Methods:
Using the 2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (n = 10.515), this study examined access to medications related to race/ethnicity, comparing non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics to whites. Multivariable logistic regression models were estimated, controlling for age, gender, income, education, chronic conditions, and type of drug coverage.Results:
Non-Hispanic blacks were less satisfied than whites with amount paid for prescriptions [OR = 0.69,95%CI(0.55,0.86)], the list of drugs covered by their plan [OR = 0.69,95%CI(0.56,0.85)], and finding a pharmacy that accepts their drug coverage [OR = 0.59,95%CI(0.48,0.72)], after adjustment. Low-income individuals were more likely to report not filling a prescription and taking less medication than prescribed. Compared to beneficiaries with excellent health, those with poor, fair, or good health were less satisfied with access. Access was also diminished for patients with depression, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma.Conclusion:
Possible interventions for non-Hispanic blacks might include assisting them in finding the best drug plan to meeting their needs, connecting them to medication assistance programs, and discussing convenience of pharmacy with patients.