New Study Says Medicare Drug Benefit Benefits Heart Patients

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					A new study indicates that the Medicare drug benefit may be helping an increased
number of older Americans with heart failure get the medications recommended for
controlling the disease.
 鈥淥 bviously the good news is that an increase in prescription use could mean fewer
hospitalizations, 鈥 ?suggests          Alan Weinstock, insurance broker, at, 鈥渁 s well as lower costs and longer lives.鈥?
 Medicare Drug Benefit Study Results
 Nearly 7,000 older heart-failure patients on one insurance plan were reviewed. The
results were that the number of filled prescriptions for standard heart-failure
medication actually increased after the Medicare drug benefit went into effect in
January 2006. More striking was the fact that the largest increase was among seniors
who previously lacked drug coverage.
 The ultimate goal of Medicare Part D was to provide seniors, especially those with
low incomes, access to affordable medications. In fact a 2009 study by the research
organization RAND found that by 2008, Medicare drug coverage had trimmed
seniors' annual out-of-pocket drug costs by 16 percent, on average, while increasing
the number of prescriptions by 7 percent.
 These newest findings, reported in the American Heart Journal, are the first which
show Medicare Part D may be helping an increased number of beneficiaries with
heart failure get the medications routinely recommended to help lower risk of
 Understanding Heart Failure
 What many people don 鈥檛 realize is that heart failure is a chronic, progressive
condition. And while it may sound as if the heart stops working all together, heart
failure actually occurs when the heart is no longer able to pump efficiently enough to
meet the body 鈥檚 needs. Symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness when exerting
and fluid buildup occur.
 Heart failure occurs when the heart chamber enlarges. It stretches more and pumps
more blood. This stretching develops more muscle mass, which in turn makes the
heart bigger. Next, the body narrows blood vessels to keep blood pressure up. It also
diverts blood away from less important tissues and organs to maintain flow to the
most vital organs: the heart and brain.
 At first this allows the heart to pump more strongly as the body tries to compensate
for the heart 鈥檚 loss of power. Unfortunately, all this does is temporarily mask the
problem. Eventually, these substitute actions no longer work.
 People with heart failure are routinely placed on drugs called beta-blockers,
generally in combination with an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or a
similar medication.
 Heart failure is a serious condition, usually with no cure. But many people with heart
failure lead full, enjoyable lives when the condition is managed with medications and
a healthy lifestyle. It also helps to have the support of family and friends who
understand the condition.
 Sophie Ben is an expert author and has more then 5 years of experience in writing
Technical articles like Medicare Insurance , Medicare Supplemental Comparison,
Medigap Insurance California, Medicare Plans .