A study completed by the federally funded Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis finds the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug benefit that began at the start of last year is proving to be more popular than anticipated in rural America. Tim McBride, a health economist at Saint Louis University is the lead author of the report. He says there had been a belief that the private plans taking part in the program would focus attention on the urban areas, where there are greater numbers of people. But that is not what has happened. Data from June of 2006 show more than half of rural Medicare beneficiaries – 53.2 percent – were enrolled in one of about 40 prescription drug plans. That compares with 51.2 percent enrollment in urban areas. McBride says this is an indication of just how few options were available to rural Americans prior to the prescription drug benefit going into effect. He says things have improved a great deal for those Medicare beneficiaries. In Missouri, the number of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the prescription drug program is even higher than the national average – at 58 percent.

Related web sites:
Center for Rural Policy Anaysis Rural Policy Brief

ruralsv.mp3 (423k)