The Medicare open enrollment period starts next week, on October 15th. During this seven-week period, existing Medicare beneficiaries can change their Medicare plan for the upcoming year and new Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a new plan. Depending on what decision they make, they may be also choosing a new pharmacy by default.
Switching plans or selecting the right plan based on unique prescription needs is a great way for Medicare beneficiaries to save money. But if a patient selects a plan that isn’t supported by your pharmacy, they will be taking those savings to a competitor. A good way to help both your patients and your business is to offer Medicare Part D enrollment assistance.
Medicare Part D enrollment assistance is a great way to increase loyalty and develop long-term relationships with customers. But with a growing number of Medicare beneficiaries looking for new plans, do you have an easy, efficient way to ensure you don’t lose patients to a competitive pharmacy when they select a new plan?
What’s at Stake
Medicare beneficiaries represent an average of 34 percent of the total patient population at a pharmacy, and the annual enrollment period is critical for retaining these patients.
Each year, 10 percent of Medicare beneficiaries switch to a new plan. This year, even more Medicare beneficiaries are expected to switch plans with COVID-19 changing travel plans and eliminating the need for many patients to have plans that cover them in multiple states.
The number of newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries is also expected to grow this year, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) forecasting Medicare Advantage enrollment to grow 11.5 percent, up from 9 percent last year.
Finding the Right Tools to Be Successful
Medicare provides a free Plan Finder tool, but it has some well-documented challenges (you can read more about those here, here and here). Plus, the tool requires you to enter all the patient’s medications manually and look through each plan to see if it’s in-network with your pharmacy.
As the number of Medicare beneficiaries increases, so does the importance of streamlining the process of helping them with plan selection. Imagine getting a list of curated plans that save your patients money and keep them in-network with a single click, instead 13 different clicks (the average for users on Medicare Plan Finder) to get similar information.
So, what should you look for in a workflow-enabled plan comparison tool?
- Automated data population, because who has time to manually enter a patient’s full drug regimen! A good solution will automatically populate this information for you, saving you time and increasing the number of patients you can serve.
- Curated plan results that show only plans where your pharmacy is preferred or in-network, eliminating the need to sort through results manually to make sure your patient will still be covered at your pharmacy with their new plan.
- Tools for patients to make their selection process easier, including the ability to easily view and review their recommended plans, and the option to talk to a Medicare specialist who can answer any additional questions.
Even though the enrollment period is starting soon, it’s not too late to start providing this valuable service to patients, or to find a new solution that will improve your current workflow and help you serve patients more efficiently during this year’s annual enrollment.