Report: Mental Health Drugs Vital for Medicare Patients

WASHINGTON -- Medicare consumers with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are hospitalized less often if they maintain access to their medications when they hit the coverage gap for prescription drugs, according to a study released today.

This has led to scientists calling for the so-called "doughnut hole" to be closed sooner than 2020, as called for in the 2010 health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act. They would also like to see patients using more generic medications so that they can avoid hitting the gap in the first place, while saving taxpayers money. "We'd save money and have better outcomes," said Kenneth Smith, lead author of the report published in The American Journal of Managed Care. The health care law last year gave a 50% discount on name-brand drugs and a 14% discount on generics, and Smith said policymakers should consider increasing the discount on generics.

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Source: USA Today