The final quarter of 2021 presents many opportunities for independent pharmacy owners. With Open Enrollment Season now underway, what plans have you made to assure your patients and your pharmacy are set up for success in 2022? Not sure where to start? Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is a tremendous opportunity to keep your pharmacy top-of-mind and help patients save money on their prescription benefits.
Opportunities Associated with Open Enrollment
Engage Current Patients Over Current Plan
A July 2021 study found that 94% of Medicare beneficiaries are not on the most cost-effective plan. Your patients should see your pharmacy as a valuable resource for health and wellness solutions, including your input on Medicare Open Enrollment. Make sure you are keeping current patients engaged by helping them through this important but challenging process of Open Enrollment.
Focus your efforts on:
- Newly Eligible Patients
- Low Income Subsidy (LIS) Patients
Attract (And Transfer In) New Patients
Use social media to your advantage as you advertise the patient-centric services at your pharmacy. For example, create a link for new patients to schedule a Medicare consultation. Highlight the impact the right plan can have on their personal finances, help the patient understand their options for coverage and take the opportunity to share some of the other services you offer, such as immunizations and Medication Reviews. Social media is a great way to drive awareness for the products and services that will help patients take control of their health and wellness.
+1 – Educate and Provide Immunizations
Since our February virtual conference, PDS has been encouraging pharmacies to leverage the +1-concept introduced by Tiffany Hatcher, Clinical Assistant Professor at Duquesne University School of Pharmacy. Anytime that you have an opportunity to share, educate or immunize a patient while they are in your store, seize the opportunity. As patients come in for Medicare consultations apply the +1 concept to any of these valuable immunizations.
- FLU: Vaccinations for the 2021 flu season are underway and will help keep your patients healthy. Medicare-eligible seniors are a vulnerable population;, help your patients by giving them their flu shots at the consultations. No need to come back, one visit is all you need to provide multiple solutions.
- COVID19: Symptoms for the flu and COVID are similar, take the stress out of flu season for your patients. If they have not been vaccinated, this is another opportunity to keep your patients safe.
- SHINGLES: Quarantine restrictions contributed to a decrease in necessary vaccinations last year. Help get your Shingles vaccine-eligible patients up-to-date.
- MEDICATION REVIEW: Managing prescriptions is a critical component of patient care. Take this time to help your patients review their medications and confirm which of their prescriptions should be listed as active or inactive on their patient profiles.
Pro-Tip: Do you have a medication disposal program? Let patients know that is a solution you offer. It eliminates accidents and reduces the likelihood of the prescription ending up in the wrong hands. If you do not offer this solution, you can still provide value. Check out this Dispose My Meds search tool from NCPA (National Community Pharmacists Association).
Best Practices During Open Enrollment
Start Marketing Open Enrollment Consultations Early
Start marketing Open Enrollment Services mid-September. As different mailers arrive for Medicare Part D patients, questions will begin to arise regarding their plan choices. Do not forget to train your team on ways to organically start these conversations and escalate them to the appropriate staff members as needed.
Open Enrollment Marketing Ideas:
- Bag stuffers can also help get the word out about your services.
- Use signage around your pharmacy to advertise consultations and other patient services.
- Post to social media! Video is a fantastic way to get in front of your target audience. Need social inspiration? Check out this list of social media ideas.
Let your community know early on that your pharmacy is a valuable resource for evaluating prescription drug coverage options.
How DIR (Direct and Indirect Remuneration) Fees Will Impact Your Business?
FDS Amplicare offers powerful tools to help you understand the DIR impact. Many pharmacy owners have used it to generate WIN-WIN opportunities during the open enrollment period. As a result, FDS Amplicare users reported average patient savings of $480/ year and increased profits of over $200/per participating patient. If you are not familiar with Amplicare Match opportunities, reach out to your PDS Member Success Team today.
Prioritize Low Income Subsidy (LIS) Patients
Medicare Part D Extra Help or Low-Income Subsidy program helps many pay for prescription medications. Your pharmacy staff can help enrollees identify Medicare Part D plan offerings that are available and applicable.
Reduce Workflow Struggles with Appointment Setting
Make it easy on your team and your patients with an appointment scheduling tool. COVID accelerated the shift to the appointment-based pharmacy model, and the feedback has been unanimously positive. Pharmacies are seeing improved adherence and experiencing higher efficiency in their operations.
A Few Suggestions:
- Do Not Over Engineer the Process – Find a Simple, User-Friendly Solution
- Set Up Confirmation Email or Text Reminders
- Think About Additional Services You Can Book During the Consult
Cross-Promote Nutrient Depletion Solutions
Remind your patients of the various healthcare solutions at your pharmacy. Prescription profile updates and comprehensive medication reviews allow you to identify possibilities for Nutrient Depletion solutions. Make appropriate OTC (Over-the-Counter) recommendations. Do not forget to train your team in this area as well, you should feel comfortable that anyone on your team can provide the right solutions for the patient.
Referrals and Recommendations are Critical
JD Power, a global leader in consumer insights, determined that 80% of patients will utilize a service if their physician recommends it, and 75% will utilize a service if it is recommended by their friends and family. This means referrals influence your pharmacy’s reputation, profitability, and role in the community as a trusted resource.
Setting Goals for Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
An ideal goal for enrollment is 1.5 patients per day. Involve your team during the goal-setting process and have a visual tracker in the pharmacy. A visual reminder will keep these ideas top-of-mind for your team. Three hundred locally-owned pharmacies around the US have been recognized for taking an active role to ensure their patients enroll in the plan that best fits their needs. Could your pharmacy make the list next year?
Click below to watch our recent webinar replay AEP WIN-WINS: Saving Patients Money, Increasing Loyalty and Profitability.
Ready to learn more about PDS? Contact us today to get your pharmacy set up for success during the 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment Period!