NEW YORK — With the annual Medicare Part D enrollment period now under way, chain drug pharmacies and their pharmacists are offering various forms of assistance to help patients save time and money.
At CVS/pharmacy, patients can receive personalized plan comparisons in-store or online to help in their search for a Medicare prescription drug plan that addresses their individual needs. CVS/pharmacy is participating in several Medicare Part D preferred pharmacy networks with no or low co-pays on generic prescriptions.
Rite Aid Corp. is also offering in-store and online resources to help customers choose the best prescription drug plan for 2015. Through the December 7 closure of the enrollment period, customers can use the chain’s Medicare Advisor (in-store or at riteaid.com/medicareadvisor), to request the three lowest-cost prescription drug plans based on current prescriptions that are filled at Rite Aid.
As the enrollment period opened in mid-October, Walgreen Co. noted that it has more than doubled its preferred network relationships with national Part D plan sponsors for next year and that it will be part of preferred networks for nine plan sponsors. It said the networks offer greater access to pharmacy services as well as cost-savings opportunities.
Health Mart has also launched a Part D consultation program through a series of new marketing tools that are available through Health Mart’s Marketing Hub. The program includes discounted pricing on the iMedicare plan comparison tool, which can help patients compare monthly costs and provides other comparisons.
“CVS/pharmacy’s plan comparison tool provides patients with convenient ways to learn how much money they could save by choosing a new Medicare Part D plan that is based on their own prescription usage,” said Josh Flum, senior vice president of retail pharmacy at CVS Health. “While pharmacists cannot recommend any specific Medicare Part D plan, we can help patients understand their options based on their individual needs.”
Although CVS/pharmacy does not endorse any specific Medicare Part D plan and accepts all major Medicare prescription drug plans, it is participating in 20 regional and national Part D preferred pharmacy networks that provide additional savings opportunities for Medicare beneficiaries.
Rite Aid will serve as the exclusive co-branded preferred pharmacy provider for the new Symphonix Rite Aid Premier Rx prescription drug plan. There is no deductible for those enrolled in the plan, which also offers low co-pays and provides an expansive list of covered medications. Rite Aid is also the exclusive preferred pharmacy provider for the Symphonix Rite Aid Value Rx.
Both plans are available everywhere Rite Aid operates, except Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.
Walgreens will have preferred network relationships with six new Medicare Part D plan sponsors and the PBMs that support them for 2015, including Express Scripts, which features Walgreens as the only national pharmacy chain in two of its prescription drug plans.
“The Medicare population is growing rapidly, and by working closely with plan sponsors as a part of preferred pharmacy networks, we’re uniquely positioned to help meet the prescription drug needs of America’s seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens’ president of pharmacy, health and wellness. Given the prevalence of chronic disease in the U.S., “our pharmacists are playing an important role in health care,” he said.
At Health Mart, pharmacy owners are applauding the services provided through Marketing Hub. “Using the program helps me know more about my preferred plans and what’s most cost-effective for my customers so that I can better answer their questions,” stated Bart Caldieraro, owner of Watson’s Drug Store in Greenville, Ill., a Health Mart customer. “While it might cost a little more in time, the iMedicare program helps me bring patients and prescriptions into my store.”
To help Health Mart promote its pharmacies their way, pharmacies have access to matching funds for local marketing activities that give owners the flexibility to promote their specific service offerings and distinct strengths, attract new patients, and reinforce their value to existing patients.
Using Health Mart’s Marketing Hub website, owners can access time-saving integrated campaigns or select from a catalog of more than 200 traditional, digital and social media marketing tools. Stores also have access to support, best practices and ideas from other successful pharmacies.