Prescription drug coverage and drug utilization: New evidence from the HRS prescription drug study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The linking of detailed information on health, medical care, and insurance to economic outcomes is a central feature of data collection efforts in the economics of aging. In this paper, I use newly available linked panel data from a unique supplement to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) known as the Prescription Drug Study (PDS) to examine the impact of insurance coverage on prescription drug utilization for those 65 and older. Fixed-effect estimates suggest that gaining coverage resulted in a 15% increase in utilization. Gaining coverage also was associated with a 20-50% reduction in the incidence of cost-related non-adherence. However, even among the uninsured, only a relatively small proportion of drugs (12%) were associated with episodes of cost-related non-adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-65
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Economic and Social Measurement
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016



  • panel data
  • Prescription drugs
  • utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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