There are over 55 million Medicare beneficiaries across the country today, with an average of 10,000 more turning 65 each day for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, the majority of these seniors tend to be uninformed about Medicare, and the opportunities available to help them take better advantage of the program.
Additional research conducted by iMedicare suggests that the average American senior pays over $1,000 more on their Medicare plan than necessary. The majority of seniors are unaware of this loss, or fail to realize that they can change to a different plan on a yearly basis to decrease or eliminate costs. When asked, 93% of respondents said that they would change pharmacies if they could save over $1,000 on their Part D plan.
To further solidify the validity of this conclusion, we conducted additional research into the likelihood for patients to switch from one pharmacy to another. 42% of respondents were “promoters” or customers who are loyal to one particular pharmacy, these customers are likely to encourage others to do the same. Furthermore, 10% of the respondents fell into the “passive” region, these patients are satisfied, but are more willing to switch to another pharmacy. The remaining 48% of patients were “detractors”, those who are unhappy customers, but will continue to use the same pharmacy out of convenience. These numbers suggest that there are a significant number of patients open to switching pharmacies, they may simply be unaware of the benefits that may result from filling prescriptions with a different pharmacy.
Finding a Plan Tailored to Patient-Specific Needs
One of the biggest problems Medicare-eligible patients face is finding the right Part D plans based on their specific needs. Enrolling in the right plan can be a stressful and confusing process that requires the consideration of many variables. These variables include finances, prescriptions, geographic area, monthly formulary changes and many more depending on differing patient priorities. Based on data analyzed by iMedicare, we found that just under 20% of the respondents considered finding the right Medicare plan to be easy. Moreover, around 70% of respondents rated it to be in the 6-10 range of difficulty, and around 32% found finding the best plan to be extremely difficult.
When evaluating the Medicare plan finding process as one that is critical to both the financial well-being and health of patients, these are very troubling statistics. Understanding and paying for Medicare is a process that should, and can be, a smooth system for patients.
Whose Involved in the Plan Finding Process?
It’s important to take into consideration who patients confide in when making decisions regarding their Medicare options. Approximately 60% of our respondents said that they search for a plan themselves by using the Medicare.gov website. The remaining 40% of respondents may consult with other individuals for insight and help finding the right plan option. Other individuals who may be involved in a patient’s decision-making process include: pharmacists, medical professionals, family, friends, and insurance brokers. With the addition of these opinions, choosing the right Part D plan can become increasingly confusing for patients being pulled in several different directions.
How iMedicare Pharmacies Can Help Alleviate The Confusion
With iMedicare, the process of finding the perfect plan has been reduced from a time consuming and complicated process, to one that takes only a few minutes. By consulting with a pharmacist using iMedicare, patients are afforded the added expertise to help with choosing a plan that best suits their specific needs. Additionally, pharmacists are most knowledgeable about patients’ prescription regimens, and the drug industry as a whole. For example, pharmacists have the tools and expertise available to alert patients of new generic drugs introduced to the market, and can keep patients informed on updates, providing them the option to switch from a potentially more expensive brand name medication to a cheaper option.
This type of personalized care is extremely helpful to patients. Not only will pharmacists work with patients to find solutions on how to lower costs, but it will also help to maximize their Medicare benefits.
It’s crucial to fully understand the ways in which seniors interact with their pharmacists, receive help with their Medicare plans, and how they incorporate technology in their everyday lives. These insights will allow pharmacists to better understand their highest priority needs and improve the quality of care they provide to their patients.