Nineteen percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries said that they forget to take prescribed medications; of those, 24 percent said they forget at least once per week.
Fifteen percent of respondents noted that a reminder system would help them with adherence. The survey results are based on a 2018 survey of 781 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with at least one chronic condition conducted by Health Action as a Service company, HealthMine.
For Medicare Advantage plans, drug adherence is a key factor in Star ratings. Star Ratings have been created to measure the performance of Medicare plans. These ratings include three measures of drug adherence targeting chronic disease: 1) Medication Adherence for Diabetes Medications, 2) Medication Adherence for Hypertension, 3) Medication Adherence for Cholesterol. This is indicated in the CMS, Medicare 2019 Part C & D Star Ratings Technical Notes, updated 11/08/2018, page 100. Those measures are given triple weight among all Star Ratings measures.
The results are in line with a 2014 study of 586 Medicare beneficiaries entitled: Medication adherence behaviors of Medicare beneficiaries. It was conducted with the approval of the Institutional Review Board of the University of the Pacific. The study revealed 30 percent were non-adherent. The following reasons were provided: 73 percent, forgetfulness; 11 percent, side effects; 10 percent, the medication was not needed. Lower adherence rates were also associated with difficulty paying for medication, presence of a medication-related problem, and certain symptomatic chronic conditions.