Allison B. Rosen, MD, MPH, ScD; Mary Beth Hamel, MD, MPH; Milton C. Weinstein, PhD; David M. Cutler, PhD; A. Mark Fendrick, MD; Sandeep Vijan, MD, MS
Acknowledgments: The authors thank Joseph Newhouse, PhD; Lisa Iezzoni, MD, MSc; and Peter Neumann, ScD, for their helpful suggestions on the design and conduct of the analyses. The authors also thank Gerard Anderson, PhD, for his assistance in obtaining Medicare expenditure estimates for individuals with diabetes.
Grant Support: Dr. Rosen was supported by an AHRQ Health Services Research Fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health (grant 5 T32 HS00020-16). Additional funding was provided by the Primary Care Research Fund of Brigham and Women's Hospital, which had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Requests for Single Reprints: Allison B. Rosen, MD, MPH, ScD, Division of General Medicine, University of Michigan Health Systems, 300 North Ingalls, Suite 7E10, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Rosen: Division of General Medicine, University of Michigan Health Systems, 300 North Ingalls, Suite 7E10, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
Dr. Hamel: Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.
Dr. Weinstein: Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, 718 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
Dr. Cutler: University Hall, Ground Floor North, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Dr. Fendrick: Division of General Medicine, University of Michigan Health Systems, 300 North Ingalls, Suite 7C27, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
Dr. Vijan: Department of Health Services Research & Development, Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center, PO Box 130170, Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0170.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: A.B. Rosen, M.B. Hamel, S. Vijan.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: A.B. Rosen, M.B. Hamel, S. Vijan.
Drafting of the article: A.B. Rosen, D.M. Cutler, S. Vijan.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: A.B. Rosen, M.B. Hamel, M.C. Weinstein, D.M. Cutler, A.M. Fendrick, S. Vijan.
Final approval of the article: A.B. Rosen, M.B. Hamel, M.C. Weinstein, D.M. Cutler, A.M. Fendrick, S. Vijan.
Statistical expertise: A.B. Rosen, M.C. Weinstein, S. Vijan.
Obtaining of funding: A.B. Rosen.
Collection and assembly of data: A.B. Rosen.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors slow renal disease progression and reduce cardiac morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes. Patients' out-of-pocket costs pose a barrier to using this effective therapy.
To estimate the cost-effectiveness to Medicare of first-dollar coverage (no cost sharing) of ACE inhibitors for beneficiaries with diabetes.
Markov model with costs and benefits discounted at 3%.
Published literature and Medicare claims data.
65-year-old Medicare beneficiary with diabetes.
Medicare and societal.
We evaluated Medicare first-dollar coverage of ACE inhibitors compared with current practice (no coverage) and the new Medicare drug benefit.
Costs (2003 U.S. dollars), quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), life-years, and incremental cost-effectiveness.
Compared with current practice, first-dollar coverage of ACE inhibitors saved both lives and money (0.23 QALYs gained and $1606 saved per Medicare beneficiary). Compared with the new Medicare drug benefit, first-dollar coverage remained a dominant strategy (0.15 QALYs gained, $922 saved).
Results were most sensitive to our estimate of increase in ACE inhibitor use; however, if ACE inhibitor use increased by only 7.2% (from 40% to 47.2%), first-dollar coverage would remain life-saving at no net cost to Medicare. In analyses conducted from the societal perspective, benefits were similar and cost savings were larger.
Results depend on accuracy of the underlying data and assumptions. The effect of more generous drug coverage on medication adherence is uncertain.
Medicare first-dollar coverage of ACE inhibitors for beneficiaries with diabetes appears to extend life and reduce Medicare program costs. A reduction in program costs may result in more money to spend on other health care needs of the elderly.
Rosen AB, Hamel MB, Weinstein MC, et al. Cost-Effectiveness of Full Medicare Coverage of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors for Beneficiaries with Diabetes. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143:89–99. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-143-2-200507190-00007
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(2):89-99.
Cardiology, Coronary Risk Factors, Healthcare Delivery and Policy, Hypertension, Nephrology.
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