Implementation of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit: What is Available to Rural Beneficiaries?

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
August 2006
This project will focus on the impact of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 on rural beneficiaries, based on actual prescription drug plan contracts, comparing the impact of the legislation on rural beneficiaries to their urban counterparts. The project will have two phases. In the first phase, we will monitor and compile the submitted contracts from the prescription drug plans to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to build a database that describes plan benefits and the service areas in which they locate, compiling all the data on the plans made available from CMS. In the second phase, we will use the database in descriptive analyses to address hypotheses regarding the rural impact of the legislation.

The results of this project will be presented in two policy papers. The first paper will outline prescription drug plan availability, by region, and with an urban-rural comparison. The second paper will focus on prescription drug plan benefit structure and will contain more detailed analysis of the plans and the areas in which they operate.