KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Doughnut Hole Is Trouble Spot For Seniors On Heart Drugs, Researchers Find

A study documents that beneficiaries with cardiovascular conditions who reach the annual gap in coverage for prescription drugs, known as the doughnut hole, are more likely to stop taking their drugs because of the costs.

NPR's SHOTS blog: Seniors In Medicare 'Doughnut Hole' More Likely To Stop Heart Drugs
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. That's the result of a study by researchers from the Harvard Medical School, Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, and CVS Caremark, the drugstore chain. It's in the latest issue of the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes (Rovner, 4/17).

MedPage Today: Heart Meds May Get Lost in Part D Coverage Gap
Medicare drug plan enrollees with cardiovascular conditions who enter the so-called doughnut hole without financial backup are at risk of discontinuing their medications, researchers found. Entering the gap in coverage in which Medicare Part D beneficiaries must pay 100% of their drug costs was associated with a 57% greater risk of discontinuing cardiovascular drugs, according to Jennifer Polinski, ScD, MPH, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues (Page, 4/17).

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