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Health Aff (Millwood). 2003 Jul-Dec;Suppl Web Exclusives:W3-334-41.

Employer-sponsored health insurance and prescription drug coverage for new retirees: dramatic declines in five years.

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  • 1Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, USA.


Employer-sponsored health insurance is often described as the most reliable private source of Medicare supplementation, particularly for prescription drug benefits. This study's findings show that employer coverage is becoming an increasingly less dependable source of coverage for new retirees, and the problem is likely to get worse. We found that the proportion of Medicare beneficiaries ages 65-69 with employer coverage declined from 46 percent in 1996 to 39 percent in 2000. The proportion with drug coverage from an employer declined from 40 percent in 1996 to 35 percent in 2000. Losses among males, the group most affected, would have been even greater had it not been for a slight increase in benefits from spouses' policies.

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