Newsroom > Press Releases > Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): 34 Percent on Medicare Part D Were Taking at Least One Drug Not Covered by Their Plan During 2011 AEP: PlanPrescriber Study Finds

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): 34 Percent on Medicare Part D Were Taking at Least One Drug Not Covered by Their Plan During 2011 AEP: PlanPrescriber Study Finds

MAYNARD, MA--(October 12, 2011) - One-third (34%) of PlanPrescriber customers would not have coverage for at least one of their prescription drugs if they did not change their drugs, or their Medicare prescription drug coverage heading into 2011. This data comes from an analysis of over 24,000 user sessions that occurred on PlanPrescriber.com during the 2011 Medicare Annual Enrollment period, which ran from November 15, 2010 to December 31, 2010.
 
The research conducted by PlanPrescriber (www.planprescriber.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH), also listed the top drugs that were entered into the tool and found not to be covered by a user's existing Medicare Part D or Part C plan. Some of the drugs were used to treat illnesses like anxiety disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease. During the annual Medicare enrollment period, Medicare beneficiaries have the option to compare and update their Medicare prescription drug coverage.
 
The sample of user sessions analyzed for this study constitute visits to the PlanPrescriber web site in which individuals entered their zip code, the name of their existing Medicare prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan, and the names, dosages and frequency of any prescription drugs they were taking. The plan comparison tool on PlanPrescriber compared the list of drugs entered by each user to their existing plan to determine whether or not the drugs they were taking would be covered on that plan heading into 2011.
 
Of the more than 24,000 user sessions on PlanPrescriber.com between November 15 and December 31, 2010 that were analyzed, 21,633 were used to compare Medicare prescription drug plans (PDP) and 3,009 were used to compare Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MAPD) plans. Over 33 percent (33%) of users in both plan types listed at least one drug they were taking that would not be covered in 2011 if they did not change their drug, or their plan.
 
The PlanPrescriber analysis illustrates the importance of comparing Medicare prescription drug plan options during the Medicare Annual Enrollment period, which this year takes place between October 15 and December 7th in 2011. However, only about 10 percent of Medicare Part D plan participants change their coverage annually1, according to a 2010 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
 
 
Nationwide
Sample Size
% of users whose current plan did not cover at least one drug
Stand-alone PDPs
21,633
7,227 (33%)
Medicare Advantage Plans
3,009
1,097 (36%)
All Plan Types
24,642
8,324 (34%)
 
 
Top Drugs Entered That Were Not Covered by 2011 Version of User’s Plan
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans
Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans
Alprazolam 0.5 mg Tablet
Alprazolam 0.5 mg Tablet
Clonazepam 0.5 mg Tablet
Alprazolam 0.25 mg Tablet
Folic Acid 1 mg Tablet
Clonazepam 0.5 mg Tablet
Lorazepam 1 mg Tablet
Clonazepam 1 mg Tablet
Alprazolam 0.25 mg Tablet
Aricept 10 mg Tablet
Pantoprazole 40 mg Tablet, Delayed Release
Folic Acid 1 mg Tablet
 
Vitamin D 50,000 unit Capsule
 
 
Survey Methodology
This analysis was based on a sample of 24,642 user sessions that occurred between November 15 and December 31, 2010 on the PlanPrescriber Medicare insurance plan comparison tool. The analysis examined sessions where the user was currently enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan; either a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MAPD) plan. The information users were required to provide in order to be counted as currently enrolled in a PDP or MAPD included their zip code and the name of their existing Medicare prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan as well as the names, dosages and frequency of any prescription drugs they were taking. To determine whether or not drugs were covered, this study assumes users did not change the prescriptions they entered into the tool and that there were no changes in drug plan formularies during the applicable time period.
 
1 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, RWJF-Funded Study Finds Medicare Part D Too Complex for Many Doctors, July 29, 2010, http://www.rwjf.org/humancapital/product.jsp?id=66208
 
About PlanPrescriber.com
PlanPrescriber (www.planprescriber.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of eHealth, Inc., is a leading provider of comparison tools and educational materials for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement insurance products. Medicare beneficiaries can take advantage of PlanPrescriber's no cost online advisor tools by logging on to http://www.PlanPrescriber.com. PlanPrescriber is a tool designed to help Medicare beneficiaries find a Medicare plan that covers their specific medical and prescription drug needs at the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost.
 
For more news and information about health insurance, health reform and Medicare, visit eHealth's consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered.
 
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.