Rite Aid Corp. has introduced wellness65+, an extension of its wellness+ customer loyalty program designed for seniors.

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Rite Aid launches wellness65+ program for seniors

June 19th, 2013

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid Corp. has introduced wellness65+, an extension of its wellness+ customer loyalty program designed for seniors.

The drug chain said Wednesday that customers age 65 and older who enroll in the program, now available chainwide, will be automatically eligible for an expanded wellness65+ pharmacist consultation, in which seniors can bring in their current medications for a review by a Rite Aid pharmacist, who can also discuss their immunization needs. Patients can also get a blood pressure screening and ask questions about Medicare Part D.

Members of wellness65+ also will receive the same rewards and benefits of the free wellness+ loyalty program. Those include exclusive sale pricing, +UP Rewards, 24/7 access to a Rite Aid pharmacist online or by phone, and the opportunity to earn points toward becoming a gold, silver or bronze member.

"Attracting new senior customers represents a key growth opportunity for Rite Aid because seniors tend to be our best pharmacy patients," Ken Martindale, chief operating officer of Rite Aid. "In addition, growing its senior patient base gives Rite Aid the opportunity to offer pharmacy services — such as immunizations and medication therapy management services — to a segment of the population that stands to benefit the most from the positive health outcomes these services provide."

In addition, Rite Aid is launching wellness65+ Wednesday, a benefit available to wellness65+ members that will be offered the first Wednesday of each month at every Rite Aid store. On those days, wellness65+ members will get 20% off all qualifying purchases. Each wellness65+ Wednesday also will have wellness activities, such as free health screenings, health information and other special offers.

Rite Aid is scheduled to hold its first wellness65+ Wednesday event chainwide on July 3.

In tandem with the launch of wellness65+, all wellness+ members will now be able to earn one point for each dollar they spend on co-payments for prescriptions supported by government funded programs (except in New York and New Jersey) up to a maximum of 25 points per prescription. Rite Aid noted that this is a key benefit for the many seniors who fill prescriptions through Medicare Part D.

On July 8, Rite Aid plans to begin a nine-month, national mobile tour to support wellness65+. The tour will visit more than 30 key Rite Aid markets and partner with local businesses to host community wellness events for seniors and their families. The events will include free health screenings, pharmacist consultations and local experts in fitness, finance, legal and technology. Dates and locations for the wellness65+ tour will be listed  on Rite Aid's Facebook page starting July 7.

Rite Aid, too, plans to kick off a multichannel, national advertising campaign on June 30 for wellness65+. Information about the new program will be disseminated on television, radio and circulars as well as in stores and via Rite Aid's social media channels.

Wellness+ has been a key sales driver for Rite Aid. In April, during a conference call on Rite Aid's fiscal 2013 results, Martindale said the chain had about 25.2 active wellness+ members as of the fiscal year-end. Active members are those who have used their cards at least twice over the previous 26 weeks. In addition, he noted, wellness+ members generated 79% of front-end sales and 68% of prescriptions filled in the fourth quarter. The number of gold and silver wellness+ members also has increased, and more than 50% of those customers shop Rite Aid's stores each week, he said.

At a store tour in the Buffalo, N.Y., market last month, chairman and chief executive officer John Standley said Rite Aid aims to develop more programs to serve poly-chronic patients, or those with multiple chronic conditions. Many of these patients are seniors and have a difficult time managing their prescription regimens and overall health, he explained.

"We continue to grow and adapt our business, and some of our best patients are patients who are chronic or poly-chronic patients," Standley said in an interview at Rite Aid's store in Williamsville, N.Y. "We want to continue to work with those patients to help them be compliant with their drug therapy. So we're really focused on growing comprehensive medication reviews and other consultation services to help those people be compliant."