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Study: Seniors In Medicare Doughnut Hole More Likely To Stop Taking Heart Meds

A new study from Harvard Medical School finds that Medicare patients “who reach the annual gap in coverage for prescription drugs known as the ‘doughnut hole’ are 57 percent more likely than those with continuous insurance coverage to stop taking drugs for heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.” The findings undermine Republican claims that the hole encourages prudent purchasing — that is gives seniors skin in the game — and instead highlight the health benefits of closing the coverage gap created by the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act. “Researchers have observed increased rates of drug discontinuation and adherence across both essential and potentially unnecessary drugs but have not observed higher rates of switching to generic drugs during the coverage gap,” the study said. Seniors in the doughnut hole have already received million in rebates under the Affordable Care Act, which will fully close the coverage gap by 2020.

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