Drug Utilization Is Down in Medicaid, but Spending Continues to Climb

Medicaid drug spending shows no signs of slowing despite a drop in prescriptions, according to new research from KFF. Net spending on prescription drugs grew 47% to $43.8 billion from fiscal year (FY) 2017 to 2022. The average Medicaid enrollee had 11.4 prescriptions in FY 2017, with a net spend of $39 per prescription. In FY 2022, the number of prescriptions per enrollee dropped to 9.4, while net spending per prescription rose to $58.

Meanwhile, Medicaid enrollment climbed to historic levels amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching 96.3 million lives in June 2023, according AIS’s Directory of Health Plans (DHP). With the end of the COVID-era continuous enrollment provision, states are now in the middle of a lengthy — and sometimes controversialunwinding process. Yet utilization (the overall number of prescriptions) stayed under 2017 levels despite the enrollment boom. That could be because the number of days supplied per prescription has increased, with 90-day supplies becoming more common, in addition to lower utilization overall.

© 2024 MMIT
Carina Belles

Carina Belles

Carina has been covering public-sector health care since 2018. As a data reporter for Radar on Medicare Advantage, she creates infographics and data stories on issues impacting Medicare, Medicaid and Part D. She also develops AIS Health Daily, a free daily newsletter that showcases AIS’s strong reporting across our four publications and parent company Norstella’s suite of market access and data solutions. Prior to joining the editorial team, she managed Medicare and Medicaid data for the Directory of Health Plans, AIS’s industry-standard health coverage database. She graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Journalism.

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