Make This Year’s Medicare Open Enrollment Count
Pharmacies have 53 days to stand out during Medicare Open Enrollment
- Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15–December 7. This includes enrollment in Part D drug plans.
- Seniors benefit from reviewing plan options to ensure they select the plan that best meets their needs.
- Seniors who fail to review their plan options may miss an opportunity to save hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Pharmacies can provide a valuable service and earn loyalty by providing Part D plan reviews.
- Tools and resources are available to assist pharmacies with plan reviews.
- Pharmacies can use multiple avenues to reach out to seniors during this critical time, including signs, advertisements, pharmacy app messages and press releases.
Now Is a Critical Time
What seniors do — or don’t do — between October 15 and December 7 could cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars next year. While relatively few seniors take the opportunity to review their plan options under Medicare Part D during Open Enrollment, it can be a costly mistake. Pharmacies that help seniors review plans provide a valuable service.
“Most people have no idea how to evaluate their Medicare Part D plan,” says Dayton Keller, the Medicare Part D expert at Newbern Drug Health Mart in Tennessee. “When we can help patients who really need it find a plan that makes their prescriptions more affordable, they really appreciate it.”
Medicare Part D Open Enrollment plan comparisons are an important part of Newbern Drug Health Mart’s services and a way to attract and keep loyal customers. Last year, about 70% of the patients who had a review there switched plans and saved money.
To maximize your pharmacy’s effectiveness during Open Enrollment:
- Become the local expert. Open Enrollment will be in the news, so position yourself as the local expert. Contact the news directors of local media to offer your expertise on the topic of selecting a Medicare Part D plan. (Health Mart® members have access to templates for numerous types of Open Enrollment outreach and marketing via the Health Mart Marketing Hub.)
- Promote your plan reviews. In-store signs, advertising, community outreach and more will help spread the word that you are ready to help Medicare beneficiaries. Think about new options too, such as buying Facebook ads or sending messages through your pharmacy app. Also, make sure to let local prescribers know that their patients can come to your pharmacy for a free plan review.
- Start the conversation. Ask patients if they understand that Medicare Part D plans change every year. Find out if they know if their drugs will be covered and if they can continue going to their pharmacy of choice. If a patient is not sure how their plan is changing and if their drugs will be covered, offer to schedule a short conversation. This is also an ideal time to complete a comprehensive medication review (CMR) for your patient. (See “What You Need to Know about CMRs.”)
- Schedule appointments for plan reviews. If your pharmacy offers medication synchronization (med sync), consider aligning your Med D review with their med sync appointment for synergy.
- Help customers use the free plan finder at Medicare.gov.
- Use a commercial Medicare comparison tool such as iMedicare to show customers plan comparisons based on their medications and preferences.
- Remind customers about your pharmacy’s other services, such as flu shots and medication synchronization.
To better integrate plan reviews into the workflow, one option is to hire part-time or seasonal help. Hiring someone to specifically focus on Medicare Part D plan reviews versus making it an additional task for existing staff helps ensure your program will get off the ground, Keller said. Look for someone who can work comfortably with people age 65 and older.
Learn more about how to stand out during Open Enrollment in these articles:
- Are You Ready to Compete for Medicare Part D Patients?
- Medicare Part D Consultations Can Build Patient Loyalty
- Help Your Customers Navigate Medicare Part D
- Medicare Open Enrollment Allows Pharmacy Expertise to Stand Out
Help Is Available
Heath Mart also offers a “Guide to Part D Plan Reviews” and more tools for member pharmacies. For more information about how Health Mart can help you launch your pharmacy’s Medicare Part D Open Enrollment program, members can visit the Medicare Part D page on the Marketing Hub.
To learn more about joining Health Mart, visit BecomeAHealthMart.com.