Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 1172–1175

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers on the Formularies of Medicare Drug Plans

  • Walid F. Gellad
  • Haiden A. Huskamp
  • Kathryn A. Phillips
  • Jennifer S. Haas
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-007-0235-z

Cite this article as:
Gellad, W.F., Huskamp, H.A., Phillips, K.A. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2007) 22: 1172. doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0235-z



The presence of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) on the formularies of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) is vitally important to the health of seniors who cannot tolerate angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.


To determine whether ARBs are present on the formularies of PDPs and how the prescription cost-sharing for ARBs under Part D compares to cost-sharing before Part D.


Cross-sectional analyses of March 2006 Medicare Part D formularies (n = 1,446) and of ARB utilization and cost-sharing for adults over the age of 64 included in the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Main Outcome Measures

(1) Presence of ARBs on Part D formularies. (2) Average out-of-pocket costs for 30-day supply of ARBs before and after Part D (both in 2006 dollars).


All PDP formularies included at least 1 ARB. Most plans covered 2 ARBs (41%) and 35% covered all 7. The average monthly copay for the most commonly used ARB, valsartan, is $28 under part D, $14 before Part D for individuals with prescription coverage, and $53 before Part D for individuals without coverage.


Whereas ARBs are present on all Part D formularies, many seniors will pay more for these drugs under Part D. Any savings in copayments under Part D may be erased by the monthly premium and by more expensive cost-sharing when seniors reach the ‘donut hole’.


Medicare health insurance formularies angiotensin receptor blockers 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walid F. Gellad
    • 1
  • Haiden A. Huskamp
    • 2
  • Kathryn A. Phillips
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jennifer S. Haas
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Care PolicyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Health Policy StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.School of PharmacyUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

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