On January 1, 2006 Medicare Part D drug benefit went into effect, providing a subsidized cost on prescription drugs to its beneficiaries. This is the first time a program of this nature had been offered to Medicare recipients. With the changes of this benefit, one could assume both healthy and sick beneficiaries would now be less likely to cut back on basic necessities of life, in order to pay for medications. Over half of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in the Part D. The beneficiaries were under the impression that this benefit would increase access to needed
medications, especially among the poor and chronically ill. However, the sickest patients, who typically have high drug expenditures, are still not getting the proper medications needed, due to financial reasons, in spite of this new benefit. Which is effecting the HIV/ AIDS population the hardest.
Medicare currently is serving 100,000 beneficiaries with AIDS in the Untied States. The
benefits of Medicare Part D were not designed with the HIV/AIDS population in mind. With the
extremely high cost of these prescriptions and the multiple combinations of prescriptions needed
for treatment of this disease, many beneficiaries end up in a bind. The costs of these prescriptions are solely paid by the beneficiary with very little or no assistance from the benefits providedthrough Medicare Part D. The HIV/AIDS populations are forced to rely on state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) to assist with the cost in obtaining the prescriptions that are needed for survival. Unfortunately, the beneficiaries receiving the ADAP benefits will neverreach a threshold where Medicare can pick up all prescription costs, for these benefits do not
count towards their true out of pocket costs.
The hardship placed upon the beneficiaries by not being able to afford the basic life necessities along with the medications, are hindering the of the health by causing more of a strain and stress. The future of the...