This week marked the halfway point of Medicare Open Enrollment. And with just over a month left to go, the pressure is on for pharmacies serving large populations of Medicare patients.
If you own or work in one of such pharmacies, you’re already aware of how important it is for patients to receive guidance during the Open Enrollment period. This could look like education on Medicare, help understanding plan comparisons, or information on what their plan selection could mean for their coverage next year.
While it’s always important to start early in order to take advantage of the full seven-week period (October 15-December 7), the second half of Medicare Open Enrollment is just as important as the first, if not more so. According to our internal data, pharmacies are more likely to complete plan comparisons for patients later in the fall. In 2019, for instance, completed plan comparisons using Amplicare Match nearly doubled between the start of Open Enrollment and early November, and spiked once again toward the end of the enrollment period. Online enrollments through our patient-facing portal also showed a similar trend (fun fact: we launched the portal as Navigate this year with new features that enhance remote collaboration between pharmacists and patients).
Figure 1: Visual representation of plan comparison growth using Amplicare Match in 2019
Figure 2: Visual representation of online enrollments using Amplicare in 2019
What’s driving the trend? For one thing, this is the only time of year many Medicare patients are able to switch their plan. Therefore, it’s not surprising that they are more likely to start considering their options more seriously as the enrollment period winds down. Beyond that, pharmacists may also want to ensure that all plan data is stabilized and they have a good understanding of how plans have changed before consulting with patients. This means that the next few weeks are still crucial to helping patients ensure they are making informed decisions about their plans for next year.
As you prepare to take on the second half of Medicare Open Enrollment, here are a few ways to utilize the Amplicare platform to ensure your continued success:
- Spread the word about your plan comparison services. With time ticking on the enrollment period, ensuring your patients know that you can provide assistance is essential. Some easy options to get the word out quickly include updating your pharmacy’s IVR message or taking advantage of our free call and text campaigns for Amplicare Match customers. You can also print out educational handouts from our platform and use them as bag stuffers or place them at patient check out counters, which can help start a conversation with patients looking for assistance.
- Target high priority patients. Given the busyness of the Medicare Open Enrollment period, segmenting patients can help you ensure you prioritize those who need you most. For instance, Amplicare can help you identify patients on medications that won’t be covered next year so you can reach out to them about finding a different option. You can also set other criteria based on your business needs to help you identify patient groups.
- Help your patients compare plans from home. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a real risk for Medicare patients. As a result, many of your patients may be hesitant to come to the pharmacy. The Amplicare Navigate portal makes it easy for you to share completed plan comparisons online and offer over-the-phone consultations. Patients can also compare plans on their own through Navigate and enroll online.
- Ensure you have the tools and resources you need. When reviewing a plan comparison, your patients may have a lot of questions about coverage. Our platform provides comprehensive plan comparisons that showcase your pharmacy's preferred status, all available plans (including pharmacy-friendly options such as Indy Health), copay estimates, and more to make it easy to answer patient questions.
To learn more tips for a successful enrollment period, check out our Ultimate Guide to Annual Enrollment for Pharmacies.