Prescription for trouble: Medicare Part D and patterns of computer and internet access among the elderly
Wright, David W.
Hill, Twyla J.
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Journal of aging & social policy. 2009 Apr-Jun; 21(2): 172-86.
The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 specifically encourages Medicare enrollees to use the Internet to obtain information regarding the new prescription drug insurance plans and to enroll in a plan. This reliance on computer technology and the Internet leads to practical questions regarding implementation of the insurance coverage. For example, it seems unlikely that all Medicare enrollees have access to computers and the Internet or that they are all computer literate. This study uses the 2003 Current Population Survey to examine the effects of disability and income on computer access and Internet use among the elderly. Internet access declines with age and is exacerbated by disabilities. Also, decreases in income lead to decreases in computer ownership and use. Therefore, providing prescription drug coverage primarily through the Internet seems likely to maintain or increase stratification of access to health care, especially for low-income, disabled elderly, who are also a group most in need of health care access.
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