Coverage of Atypical Antipsychotics Among Medicare Drug Plans in the State of Washington: Changes Between 2007 and 2008

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Objective: To examine changes in the cost and coverage of atypical antipsychotics among Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare advantage plans in the state of Washington.

Method: Coverage and cost data were obtained in February 2007 and 2008 from the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder, an online database administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, and coverage limits were compared for prescription drug plans (PDPs) and for Medicare advantage plans (MAPs).

Results: The number of PDPs in the state of Washington fell slightly from 57 in 2007 to 53 in 2008, while the number of MAPs rose from 43 in 2007 to 52 in 2008. In 2008, the mean monthly drug premium increased by 15% among PDPs and by 20% among MAPs. Mean copayments for the majority of atypical antipsychotics increased from 2007 to 2008. More plans added quantity limits for atypical antipsychotics, but use of other pharmacy management tools varied by type of plan and antipsychotic.

Conclusions: PDP and MAP participants in the state of Washington paid more for atypical antipsychotics in 2008 than they did in 2007. Affordability of atypical antipsychotics continues to be a concern, particularly for beneficiaries who are not eligible for Medicaid or the low-income subsidy.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2009;11(6):316-321