NCPA Executive Update

NCPA Executive Update delivers insights on legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry developments from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, to NCPA members and pharmacy leaders every Friday.

TTYPF - Help Seniors Navigate the Part D Marketing Material Maze | NCPA Executive Update | November 17, 2017

by NCPA | Nov 17, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

The conversation around the Thanksgiving table may be heated next week. And, it won't be about politics, sports, or religion. It will be about Medicare Part D.

Since Medicare Part D open enrollment began last month, television, internet, and mailboxes have been stuffed with marketing materials from health plans touting their Part D plans. Patients are already coming into your pharmacy looking for your guidance, and often, those conversations accelerate around Thanksgiving when family members are in town to provide their two cents on which one might be best for mom, dad, uncle, aunt, grandma, grandpa, etc.

That's just the start of the confusion, though. After signing onto a plan, seniors will start receiving letters and phone calls from their plan leading (or misleading) them to thinking that they have to use mail order or a certain pharmacy that is not yours! Sometimes it's true that the plan design coerces seniors toward a certain pharmacy that is not their first (or second ... or third ...) choice. But, sometimes, the letters or customer sales representatives use carefully chosen words that imply to the senior that she must leave the pharmacy of her choice — even though that may not be accurate.

That's why NCPA has created materials to help you encourage patients to communicate with you about what is being implied or told to them about their prescription drug plans and what is really true. In the November issue of America's Pharmacist®, we included a poster for you to hang in your pharmacy. This eye-catching poster has a strong message: Talk to Your Pharmacist First.

But that's not all: Click this link for even more materials to help you get the message across. You'll find a downloadable poster, a flyer, and even a stuffer you can print, cut, and put in every patient's bag.

The worst way to lose a patient's business is for it to disappear without you having a chance to know why they are leaving and to give you a chance to compete for the business. Sometimes the first time you learn a patient has moved their prescriptions to another pharmacy is when you get a call for transfers. Sometimes you never directly find out because the patient is embarrassed that he or she believes they have to leave.

Make sure your staff knows to ask every patient if they need help from you. Your patients need your help to make it through the maze of marketing materials, but they may not know what you can do for them. And what they don't know can hurt them.

Use our materials. Encourage the conversation. Cut through the confusion. Your patients need you. They just may not know it yet.

Doug Hoey

P.S. An early Happy Thanksgiving wish and I’ll see you in this space on Dec. 1.