A Decade of D

  • by: |
  • 09/18/2013

On a wet and cold December 8, 2003, I sat in Constitution Hall and watched President Bush sign Part D into law. I helped (in my own small way) to make it happen. It’s something of which I’m proud.

Nearly a decade later that pride is stronger than ever. A new, nationally representative survey shows that an overwhelming nine out of 10 seniors with Medicare prescription drug coverage are satisfied.

·      Ninety-seven percent report that their coverage works well, and nearly three out of four seniors say it works “very well.”

Some specifics:

Part D Reliability at Its Highest Level: Those feeling “peace of mind” by having Part D coverage reached an all-time high level of 96 percent this year, with 73 percent saying they feel a “great deal” of peace of mind and 23 percent saying they feel “some” peace of mind.

Multiple Factors Drive High Satisfaction: Of those surveyed, 95 percent say their plan is convenient to use (a six percent increase from 2006), 84 percent say both their premiums and copays are affordable, and 88 percent say that their Part D plan is meeting their expectations.

Seniors Know What to Look for in a Part D Plan: Seniors believe that a variety of factors are important when deciding on a Part D plan. Eighty-eight percent think that the co-pays or coinsurance amounts are important, 86 percent believe that identifying the pharmacies where they could use their benefit to purchase their medicines is important, and 81 percent believe that the quality ratings of the plan are important to examine.

High Satisfaction Seen across Major Demographic Groups: High satisfaction levels within African American (95 percent) and Hispanic (94 percent) constituencies, as well as within various income levels (93 percent for both those earning less than $15,000 per year or more than $50,000 per year), reinforce the overall findings of a successful program. Additionally, 92 percent of men and 89 percent of women are satisfied with their coverage.

Seniors Rely on the Program: This year, 72 percent of beneficiaries said that they’re better off now than before they had Part D coverage – a four percent increase from last year. Eighty-six percent of seniors fear that eliminating Part D would increase their out-of-pocket prescription costs, and without a plan, 62 percent say they would be forced to cut back or eliminate some prescription regimens – a nine percent increase from 2012.

Seniors Would Recommend Coverage to Others: 89 percent of Part D enrollees say they would recommend the program to someone considering Medicare enrollment.

The full survey can be found here.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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