Drug caps mean sicker patients

A new study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente finds that spending caps on prescription drugs don't save insurers money and may end up harming the health of patients--especially those who are chronically ill. The research, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, followed about 200,000 Kaiser Permanente patients in Northern California who had Medicare+Choice (now referred to as Medicare Advantage). The study found that those with limits were more likely to end up hospitalized and often chose not to pay for their medicines themselves. Researchers like Steve Soumerai at Harvard have essentially been saying the same thing for more than a decade now, but with Medicare in the business of paying for drugs, this type of research may have more impact on benefit design.

- see this Mercury News article for more