During the Initial Enrollment Period, patients become eligible to enroll in a Medicare plan for the first time beginning three months before the month they turn 65. They remain eligible for three months after the month they turn 65. Your Newly Eligible report identifies patients in this seven-month window, and gives you a look at those whose eligibility begins within the next three months. It is important to note that after enrolling in a plan, newly eligible patients will not be able to switch plans until the Open Enrollment period. To ensure you keep your patients during this period, here are three best practices to follow:
Stay Ahead of the Game
One of the best ways to improve patient retention is to proactively engage with your newly eligible Medicare patients. Insurance brokers in your area will market to these patients aggressively and may enroll them in plans that aren't in-network or preferred at your pharmacy. As their local pharmacy and healthcare advocate, it's important you reach them first.
Address Opportunities in Daily Workflow
If your pharmacy system is compatible with Amplicare Assist, you can easily take action and engage with your newly eligible patients in person when they come by your pharmacy.
When checking or filling a patient's prescriptions, a notification will appear on your screen if the patient is eligible to enroll in Medicare. Click the notification, and you'll be taken right to a patient handout in Amplicare.
Print the handout and keep it with the patient's prescriptions as a reminder of their eligibility when they come by the pharmacy to pick up their medications.
Tip: Once you print a handout for your patient, attach it to their prescription bag. Remember, placement is key. One of our pharmacies gave us the idea to staple the handout over the prescription barcode so patients are forced to look at the letter before checking out!
If your pharmacy system is not compatible with Amplicare Assist, there are a few things you can do to address these opportunities. Keep the Newly Eligible report open at patient checkout stations. When a middle-aged to elderly patient comes to pick up their medications, quickly search their name in the report. If it appears, that's your trigger.
Once you have a patient in front of you who you know is eligible to enroll in Medicare, you have a few options to take action:
- Perform a plan comparison with the patient right then and there.
- Save time by printing the Newly Eligible handout (deselect the "Enroll Online" option) to help patients schedule a consultation at a later date.
- Provide the handout with the "Enroll Online" instructions for patients to select and enroll in an in-network plan on their own using the Patient Engagement Portal (with the option to call the pharmacy if they need further assistance).
Drive Patient Interest with Campaigns
Whether or not you have Assist, we recommend initiating call and/or letter campaigns targeting your Newly Eligible patients. This two-pronged approach helps ensure you engage with all of your eligible patients throughout the year and maximize your patient retention. These campaigns will inform your patients that they're eligible to enroll in Medicare, and their neighborhood pharmacy (that's you!) can help them select a plan.
Amplicare’s patient engagement tools allow you to efficiently contact your patients. You can select multiple or all of the patient opportunities at once to print letters/handouts in bulk or schedule batches of phone calls.
New patients become eligible each month, so be sure you initiate these campaigns monthly. The "Review" section of the report will only include patients who have never been contacted or patients who were contacted more than 30 days prior so you can follow-up.
For best results, prioritize these patients with targeted, personal outreach:
- "Eligible Soon" patients: Brokers normally reach out to patients as soon as they become eligible, so this way you beat them to it. Filter the report by "Eligible Type" to identify these patients.
- Patients leaving their eligibility period soon: If patients don't enroll in a plan during their initial eligibility period, they will begin incurring a late enrollment penalty. Ensure this doesn't happen. Sort the report by "Due At" to identify these patients.
Start the Conversation
If you have the time, engage your patients in a conversation about what it means to be newly eligible for Medicare. While printing Newly Eligible letters or handouts for your patients is a great practice, take it a step further and help educate your patients face to face about Medicare and how you can help them choose a plan that is right for them. Remember that brokers will start reaching out to your patients right when they become eligible to enroll in Medicare (3 months before their 65th birthday), and you want to make sure that they don’t get your patient to enroll in a plan that won’t suit them or your pharmacy.
Learn strategies for helping your patients enroll to maximize successful conversions of your Newly Eligible opportunities into plan enrollments!