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 www.MedicareSupplementPlans.com, 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 hospitalization. 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 .