Assessing beneficiary understanding of the Medicare Part D benefit: The knowledge chasm
methods: We assisted 738 beneficiaries during 13 mobile health clinics in Northern/Central California in Fall 2014. Beneficiaries were provided Part D plan optimization, medication therapy management and healthcare screenings/services. Student pharmacists conducted structured interviews during which beneficiaries’ knowledge of the Part D benefit was assessed. Sociodemographic data were also collected.
results: Almost all (at least 90%) of beneficiary respondents correctly answered questions about the open enrollment period, and annual formulary and out-of-pocket costs changes. In contrast, just over half (54%) correctly understood that they did not need to sign up for a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Beneficiary knowledge was lowest about safeguards in place for those who qualify for “extra help” and awareness of the brand name drug discount during the coverage gap; only 39% and 36%, respectively, answered those items correctly. Benefit knowledge significantly varied as a function of race, educational level and subsidy status.
conclusions: A critical need to fully educate beneficiaries about Medicare Part D remains. Well-informed beneficiaries may be better able to maximize their benefit and minimize out-of-pocket costs.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Describe beneficiary understanding of the nuances of the Medicare Part D benefit. Identify sociodemographic factors on which beneficiary knowledge of the benefit significantly varies.
Keyword(s): Medicare, Federal Policy
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked closely with the Medicare beneficiary population for 8 years during which time I have served over 3,000 beneficiaries. I have written over 20 articles and presented over 80 posters/platform presentations on beneficiary outcomes during this time. Most of my research specifically focuses on how beneficiaries can better understand, and therefore optimize, their Part D benefit.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.