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Rural and Urban Differences in Choice of and Satisfaction with Medicare Part D Plans

Henning-Smith C., O'Connor H., Casey M., Moscovice I.

The purpose of this project was to determine whether rural Medicare beneficiaries are satisfied with their Medicare Part D drug plans and whether there is a difference in beneficiary satisfaction and plan selection experience by rurality.

Key Findings:

  • Medicare beneficiaries in rural locations were more likely than those in urban counties to have considered a variety of factors when choosing a Part D prescription drug plan, although beneficiaries across all geographic settings reported that monthly premium cost was the most important factor in choosing a plan.
  • Most urban and rural respondents reported positive satisfaction with their Part D drug plans, but fewer than half were “very satisfied” with either the amount of information available to them when choosing a Part D plan or with their plans overall.
  • Less than one in five respondents felt “extremely confident” that they had made the best plan decision. Residents in more-densely populated rural areas were significantly less likely than those in urban areas to be extremely confident.
  • Respondents in more-densely populated rural counties reported significantly lower satisfaction levels with their Part D plans than those in urban counties.

A companion policy brief examines the differences between Part D plan options offered to Medicare beneficiaries living in rural vs. urban areas.

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