November 19, 2014
We’re halfway through this year’s open enrollment period for Medicare Part D plans, and many seniors still need your help!
According to an analysis by Express Scripts, 84 percent of Medicare beneficiaries wait until the last two weeks of open enrollment to choose a plan. This means that you still have plenty of time to establish your pharmacy as a resource to help seniors in your community choose Medicare Part D plans.
Offering Medicare Part D consultations—and making them accessible and understandable—is a surefire way to make your pharmacy stand out. This service can bring in new customers, help you connect with existing ones and show off your expertise as a health care professional. Here are some areas to focus on to ensure you are maximizing the potential of your Medicare Part D consultations.
Seniors often have trouble choosing a plan because they don’t fully understand how Medicare works. Take the time to explain their options and the differences between plans. Encourage them to look beyond the cost of premiums and co-pays to get a more complete picture of each plan, especially when it comes to the coverage gap and Star Ratings.
Although Medicare.gov offers a plan comparison tool for seniors, the information it provides is often confusing and difficult to navigate. Consider using an alternative program, such as iMedicare, to give your patients a clear view of their options. iMedicare works with your pharmacy’s computer system to generate personalized plan comparisons for individual patients, and you can use it on a laptop or tablet. A useful tool for both you and your patients, iMedicare makes comparing Part D plans quick and simple. (Learn more about how iMedicare works.)
Help your patients understand what preferred networks mean and how certain plans prefer that their beneficiaries use big chain or mail order pharmacies. Let your patients know if their medications are covered under certain plans, and if not, help them find out if there are therapeutic alternatives available. (iMedicare can help with this, too!) Be prepared to explain the pros and cons of each plan, which may vary for each patient.
During these consultations, you must only assist your patients with information. Give them the knowledge they need, but don’t help them with their actual decision. Directing your patients towards one plan over another is prohibited.
Sixty percent of Medicare beneficiaries find choosing a Medicare Part D plan too confusing, according to the Express Scripts analysis. Be their Medicare Part D expert. Help them make an informed decision and earn their loyalty in the process.