Back in 2019, we wrote this blog about marketing for Open Enrollment, to provide some marketing suggestions for pharmacies to consider. Since then, a few things have changed and we would like to expand and slightly modify our suggestions.
The 65-and-older population grew by over a third (34.2% or 13,787,044) during the past decade, and by 3.2% (1,688,924) from 2018 to 2019. By 2040 the 65+ population is projected to reach 80.1 million. That’s a huge opportunity to gain new patients not only during Open Enrollment for Medicare Part D, but throughout the entire year. We all know the importance of reviewing Medicare plans annually, but oftentimes patients don't. For 2022 specifically, letting your patients know that Humana alone plans on introducing 72 new plans, might help get the point across. It is virtually impossible for patients to truly know which plan is right for them without the help of a pharmacist or insurance agent (or both). Make sure they understand just how many options need to be compared, to find the best possible plan for them. Taking the time to reviews options with your patients can be very beneficial for you and the patient, in many ways:
Allows your patient to review plans to make sure they are on the right one for their current needs. Many times, patients will sign up for a plan, then never think about it again…kind of like car insurance. Remind them that if their medications, or general health status, has changed in the past year, they should review their plan options.
Gives you an opportunity to let patients know about your other services. Do they know you can help with vaccinations, packaging their medications, etc.? At the end of the Medicare Part D review, had them a brochure or flyer that lists all that you offer or offer them a flu shot while they are there.
Helps control the message. Your Medicare Part D customers will be inundated with information from insurances companies, medicare.gov, etc., especially if there is a change in their current insurance plan. If you don’t talk to them, they may think they have to use another pharmacy, often a chain or mail order. And if you don’t do any lost patient outreach, you may not realize the patient has ever left.
Reaching out to your 65+ patients can be done through a bagstuffer, letter, email or voice message. We also highly encourage pharmacies to post messages on your social media pages. The 55+ age group is the fastest growing segment on Facebook, and targeting them via that platform will go a long way to educating patients, caregivers, and your community. Additionally, consider geofencing to target senior centers, nursing homes, retirement communities, etc. as this could be a different marketing avenue to try. Finally, have some business cards printed up and ready to hand out after each and every review you do. Encourage patients to hand them out to friends and family who would benefit from a review and remind them that they don't have to be a pharmacy patient to schedule a review. Asking for referrals this way is a great way to help spread the word and get people in the door.
Despite the fact that you are targeting an older population, you should also consider utilizing your online scheduling or consent form platforms (such as Acuity, Squarespace, or Jotform) to help streamline the process. Oftentimes the older generation is familiar with, and appreciates, these simple, time saving, solutions - just as much as the younger generations do.
When using digital options, consider modifying your messaging to target the caregiver market as well, as they are likely to be influencers in helping their loved ones decide on a plan. By marketing this service to beyond just your patients, you can position yourself as a community expert. This established connection can help you promote your other services and be a resource for local media on health-related stories.
While it’s important to market during Open Enrollment time, marketing to 65+ patients all year round is also beneficial. As mentioned above thousands of people are turning 65 every day, a few of those are bound to be your patients on a monthly basis. Consider reaching out to them one to three months before they turn 65, letting them know that they are now eligible, and you can review Medicare Part D plan options with them. This information can be pulled from your dispensing system, or if you use a third-party service. Reach out by sending them a short letter or voice message. Again, this also gives you the opportunity to promote your other services. By having patients use several of your different services, you create a “stickiness” with them, and it makes it harder for them to transfer.
If you need any assistance marketing during Open Enrollment or throughout the year, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 515-280-2914.