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Research Letter
October 2017

Association of Insurance Gains and Losses With Access to Prescription Drugs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of Health Policy, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
  • 2Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(10):1531-1532. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.4011

Prescription drugs can effectively treat many diseases, improving quality of life, life expectancy, and population health. However, prescription drug spending has been rising rapidly in the United States1 resulting in concerns about affordability and patient access. Health insurance is strongly associated with prescription drug access in cross-sectional studies,2,3 but estimates may partly reflect differences between individuals with and without insurance, rather than effects of insurance coverage. To address this limitation, we used longitudinal data from the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to assess the effects of insurance gains and losses on prescription drug access.

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