The new Medicare Part D prescription program cut the percentage of older U.S. residents without drug coverage to 8% in 2006, from 33% in 2005.
Patricia Neuman, a researcher in a Washington office of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and other researchers have included that finding in a paper published in Health Affairs.
The researchers drew on a 2006 survey of a national sample of 16,000 U.S. residents over age 65.
Seniors with drug coverage from any source were less likely to face high monthly drug costs or to skip prescribed drugs due to cost than did those who remained without drug coverage, the researchers report.
Some low-income seniors received extra subsidies and some did not.
About 30% of low-income seniors who did not receive the subsidies spent at least $100 per month out of their own pockets for prescriptions, the researchers report.