Non-Medicare users might have another reason to look into applying for coverage. Medicare Part D has not only helped millions of people be able to financially cover the prescription medication they need, but researchers have also noted that the program has helped Americans save more than $1 billion since its upgraded inception four years ago.

In a new study conducted by colleagues from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers discovered that over the past four years, Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage has saved $1.5 billion in expenses for users. In addition, the professors have concluded that those who are protected under Medicare Part D have also reduced hospitalizations by 8 percent, decreased all hospital charges by 12 percent as well as lowered all yearly Medicare expenditures for hospitalization by 7 percent.

The year 2006 signaled the expansion of prescription drug coverage in America under Medicare Part D, which has arguably been the most important ratification of U.S. health care since the beginning of Medicare in 1996. During that span, the number of seniors aged 65 years or older who are receiving Medicare Part D coverage has increased from 66 to 90 percent. Researchers contribute the fact that more people can afford and obtain their necessary prescription drugs as  the main inclination of why hospital visits and expenses have been reduced.

Dr. G. Caleb Alexander, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and co-director of the study, believes that their evidence can help resolve some of the overwhelming questions regarding Medicare’s overall effectiveness and necessity.

“Medicare Part D requires a substantial investment from the Federal Government, and the million dollar question has been, ‘Does this investment help to pay for itself by improving the health of seniors who have gained coverage?'” Alexander said in a statement. “The answer to that question may seem self-evident, but it is not. Our study provides some of the most rigorous evidence to date regarding the degree to which increased prescription coverage is associated with decreases in downstream health care use and cost.”

How exactly has Medicare Part D saved money?
The researchers analyzed the tens of millions of people who receive Medicare’s free service beneficiaries, while comparing their hospital admission records for serious visits regarding conditions such as heart failure or stroke. The doctors discovered that those under prescription drug coverage had significantly lower rates for serious conditions, such as an 18 percent decrease in congestive heart failure, 13 percent less coronary atherosclerosis or artery blockage and a 32 percent reduced rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which involve all types of lung diseases. Because of less people being administered for hospital care due to receiving the proper medication they need, reduced spending on infirmary visits was the result.

Medicare Part D is important for those in need of essential medication. Check with your insurer today to see which types of Medicare plans are the right match for you.