A new brief from the Urban Institute found nearly 13 million adults delay or forgo needed prescription drugs because of the cost and their out-of-pocket spending burdens. The brief explored prescription drug affordability challenges using pooled 2018 and 2019 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The brief had a primary focus on the extent to which elderly adults ages 65 and older with Medicare and nonelderly adults ages 19 to 64 with year-round private insurance delay or forgo needed prescription drugs because of the cost and their out-of-pocket spending burdens. The analysis found:
- Nearly 13 million adults delayed or did not get needed prescription drugs in the past year because of the cost, including 2.3 million elderly Medicare beneficiaries and 3.8 million nonelderly adults with private insurance, 1.1 million with Medicaid, and 4.1 million who were uninsured at any point during the year.
- About 1 in 10 adults who were uninsured all year (9.5 percent) or part of the year (11.6 percent) reported unmet prescription drug needs, compared with 4.9 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, 3.0 percent of privately insured adults, and 5.6 percent of adults with Medicaid.