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How Much Choice Is Too Much? The Case of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Health Services Research)

May 1, 2009

Journal Article

Authors: Yaniv Hanoch, Thomas Rice, Ph.D., Janet Cummings, Stacey Wood

Researchers study the impact of the number of choices and age on measures of performance in choosing a Medicare prescription drug plan. Study participants were 192 healthy individuals age 18 and older, half age 65 or older, in Claremont, California. Primary findings are that older age and greater number of plans were significantly associated with fewer correct answers. Although older adults were less likely to identify the plan that minimized total annual cost, they were more likely to state that they were "very confident" they chose the correct plan. The results raise concerns about the difficulties that older adults may have in navigating the wide range of drug plan choices available.

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