With many years of working behind the counter I know that Medicare open enrollment can be stressful and time consuming. We as pharmacy professionals are already spread thin so it is easy to think, “Is this a waste of my time?”
Far from it. Medicare open enrollment should be viewed as an opportunity. It is an important time for your patients and directly impacts your business. The Medicare open enrollment period for 2022 is October 15 – December 7 and will be here before we know it.
Benefits of Providing Comparison Consultations
As Independent pharmacists, owners, technicians, and staff we know that the stability of our business is often tied to the loyalty of our customers. Our patients remember the time and attention given to them and are more likely to stay with a pharmacy that helps make the process of comparing Medicare plans a little simpler.
We view our patients as family and know their medications and health conditions. This puts us in a special position to provide them with the information needed to choose the right Medicare plan.
Many times, we find that our patient can reduce the cost of their medications by choosing a new plan and may increase their adherence to certain mediations if they have a cheaper copay.
We want to make sure that we are aware of Medicare plan changes year to year. Medicare Part D preferred status increases every year for pharmacy chains while decreasing for community pharmacy. Knowing these changes can help us retain the business we have by speaking to our patients about copay increases or plan changes.
Start talking to your patients about the Medicare open enrollment period in advance. Continue to remind them as it approaches and educate them on different ways that Medicare plans will reach out to them. Getting letters in the mail and phone calls about these things can be overwhelming so your constant assurance and reminders will help.
Market Your Services
Here are few ways you can help your patients be aware of your services:
- Add Medicare Part D plan comparison consultation to your list of services on your website
- Utilize bag stuffers
- Place signage at your check-out counter and in your drive through
- Utilize your pharmacy dispensing system or a platform that can help you with marketing such as text messaging with an appointment sign up link
- Add a Medicare open enrollment greeting to your phone system
Create a Simple Workflow
Educate your staff on what Medicare open enrollment means and the importance of this time in your pharmacy. It may work best to appoint a Medicare open enrollment champion to help make sure that you and your team are on top of things.
You can utilize Medicare.gov or choose from the many Medicare comparison platforms that are available to do your plan comparisons. Often patients just want to see their top three options. You can prepare the day before they arrive and have the comparison available for them and ready to discuss.
Here at IPC, we are passionate about helping independent pharmacy succeed. No matter what route you choose to take during Medicare open enrollment just be involved. This will ensure the stability and success of your business. If you have any questions about tips and tricks for open enrollment, please feel free to reach out to [email protected].