Medicare Part D Consultations Can Build Patient Loyalty
Actively Promote Your Pharmacy as the “Go-to Resource” for Medicare Part D Consultations
Becoming the go-to resource for helping patients identify the best Part D plan for them can be a huge benefit to your pharmacy business, helping you attract new patients and keep existing relationships. We asked pharmacists who currently conduct Medicare Part D consultations using iMedicare in their pharmacies and communities for tips on successful sessions. Here’s what they had to say.
Initiate the Conversation
To introduce your consultation services, ask patients if they understand that plans change every year, and find out if they know if their drugs will be covered and if they can continue going to the pharmacy of their choice. If the patient is not sure how their plan is changing and if their drugs will be covered, offer to schedule a short conversation.
Educate Patients on Changing Plans
Let patients know they could save money by choosing a more cost-effective plan during Part D open enrollment. Inform them that plans change every year, and that a plan that might have been great in the past might not necessarily still be good for them.
Scheduling appointments is the best approach. That way you can schedule sessions during down times in the pharmacy or when another team member is available as backup. Though consultations can take as little as 15 minutes, it’s best to schedule 45 minutes to allow time to update medication lists and chat with patients. Ask patients to come in with their list of medications, doses and frequencies (in case they are filling prescriptions at another pharmacy in addition to yours).
Show, Don’t Recommend
Walk the patient through the different scenarios available to them — deductibles vs. no deductibles, co-pays, monthly premiums, preferred networks, and how the doughnut hole will affect their costs. People on fixed incomes will need to know monthly vs. yearly costs. However, be sure to draw a line between explaining and directing. Pharmacists are not permitted to direct a patient to one plan over another.
Prioritize for the Patient
Ask the patients what matters most to them: low co-pays, fewer drug restrictions, etc. Use your experience to point out how each plan compares on issues that matter to the patient. Be sure to show the graph view on iMedicare that illustrates when a patient enters the doughnut hole, when their drug costs might double or triple for several months.
Deliver Your Expertise
Take this opportunity to review your patients’ medications and offer guidance on therapeutic alternatives that could save them money, or to ensure there are no restrictions on a given plan. They may also want to explore how to consolidate their prescriptions with your store.
Educate Patients about Preferred Networks
Identify which plans require patients to use chain pharmacies or mail order to fill certain or all prescriptions. Explain these rules to patients to ensure they understand the implications.
Promoting Medicare Part D Consultations
Get the best business results by promoting your Medicare Part D consultations to your community! During open enrollment, use all your available channels to get the word out and become your community’s recognized resource for Part D guidance. This is especially important because chains are also advertising their own Part D consultations. Pharmacists shared some useful tips for promoting your Part D services.
Leverage the Media
Contact local news outlets (newspapers, TV stations, radio stations) to offer your expertise as an expert on the topic of selecting a Medicare Part D plan. Send a press release or short letter by fax or email to the news editors.
Let Prescribers Know
Be sure to contact local prescribers and let them know about your consultations. Send letters, drop by doctors’ offices with an information sheet, or talk to prescribers when you see them in the community.
Do Outreach to Seniors
Plan to participate in local events where you can reach Medicare-age people during open enrollment — health fairs, holiday or craft bazaars, fall festivals — where you can conduct consultations on-site. Hang posters or signs at senior centers, libraries, retirement communities and other places where you can reach Medicare-eligible patients.
Use Every Opportunity to Get the Word Out
Use in-store signage and bag stuffers to make current patients aware of your services. Update your on-hold messaging with a plug for your Medicare Part D consultation services and mention the services in your monthly statements to customers. Also spread the word outside your store, using outdoor advertising, newspaper ads, radio spots, postcard mailings and more.
Ask patients to let their friends and family know about your Medicare Part D services. Give consultation referral cards to patients who can hand them out to their friends.
Health Mart® offers its members discount subscriptions, promotional tools and matching advertising funds to help them offer and promote Medicare Part D consultations. Members can contact the Health Mart support team at 855.658.4482 for more information.