When discussing plan options with your patients, the topic of mail order plans may come up in conversation, especially if the least expensive plan for the patient is tagged mail order.
This is your chance to educate your patients while increasing their customer loyalty by showing you care about their healthcare options! Take this opportunity to explain to them the downsides of mail order and remind them of the greater benefits that come with filling their prescriptions at your friendly neighborhood pharmacy.
Mail order preferred plans will aggressively advertise to patients claiming that they can offer cheaper copays if the patient fills with the plan's preferred mail-order pharmacy. It's important to inform your patients to "be aware" of this aggressive marketing (i.e. phone calls, emails, letters, etc.) they will receive urging them to enroll in a mail order plan to save money.
The language used in these marketing campaigns is oftentimes very misleading. Sometimes, these marketing tactics may give your patients the wrong idea, telling them that they MUST switch to mail order, when the reality is that they can continue to fill at your pharmacy, they may just need to reach out to the plan and let them know they do not want to fill with a mail-order pharmacy.
In some cases, with a mail-order pharmacy medications may not be delivered on time which can negatively affect your patient's health and their adherence.
Lack of customer service
Mail order pharmacies do not provide the hands-on personalization and service that your friendly, community pharmacy provides!
If your patient decides to switch to a preferred mail-order pharmacy, copays will only be cheaper for them during Initial Coverage on Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs, so the difference in cost could actually be insignificant! Depending on what medications your patient is taking, the amount of money they may save by switching to mail order would not outweigh the benefits of having a trusted local pharmacist on their side.
Discussing the best plan options with your patients can turn into a win-win situation. A win for your patient in choosing the best plan for their medications and budget as well as a win for you by strengthening the relationship you have with your customers and community!
You cannot steer your patient to a different plan, but you can (and absolutely should!) be a medium of information and education to help your patients come to a decision on a plan.
Click here for more Do's and Don't's for consulting with your patients about Medicare plans.