Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–December 10, 2015. As the deadline for signing up for coverage starting January 1 approaches, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell yesterday announced that HHS is collaborating with some of the nation’s largest pharmacies to connect consumers with health coverage and encourage enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace. CVS Health, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, National Community Pharmacists Association, Rite Aid, Thrifty White Pharmacy and Walgreens are playing an important role in helping individuals across the country find a plan to meet their health care and budget needs.
“We are proud to have thousands of trusted pharmacists and pharmacies working to reach millions of consumers with the information and resources they need to enroll in quality, affordable health coverage this Open Enrollment,” said Secretary Burwell. “This strong participation is further indication that businesses are investing in Open Enrollment because they believe it is good for their business and for their customers.”
Collectively, these national partners represent more than 38,000 pharmacies across the country. In coordination with HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), pharmacies will have trained enrollment assisters available to work directly with customers in stores, and will also host local enrollment events and distribute educational resources about the health care options available through the Marketplace.
December 15 is the deadline to enroll for health coverage beginning on January 1. Information about the Health Insurance Marketplaces is available at HealthCare.gov or by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. Financial assistance is available for eligible consumers, and more than 7 in 10 returning Marketplace customers will be able to buy a plan for $75 or less a month in premiums after tax credits.
Among the activities taking place at pharmacies across the country:
In its third year helping customers access insurance information during Marketplace Open Enrollment, CVS Health is providing free insurance information in all of its 7,900 CVS/pharmacy locations, including educational resources and brochures from numerous health plans in both English and Spanish. In partnership with health insurers offering coverage through the Marketplace, CVS Health will also conduct more than 6,500 health insurance education events in its CVS/pharmacy locations between November 2015 and January 2016, providing customers the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with representatives from health plans available through the Marketplace to understand if they may qualify for financial assistance, discuss plan options and more. Consumers can find a schedule of events here.
CVS/pharmacy is also the first national retail pharmacy to offer Marketplace customers the option to pay their monthly insurance bill using cash, credit or debit card at any of the 7,900 CVS/pharmacy locations across the U.S. Bill Pay at CVS/pharmacy makes it easier for newly insured people, including those who may not have a checking account, to maintain their health insurance. Enrollees in health plans that participate in Bill Pay at CVS/pharmacy will receive their monthly premium bills featuring a customer-specific barcode, which can be scanned and paid at CVS/pharmacy without a fee for this service.
Good Neighbor Pharmacy
Good Neighbor Pharmacy is helping to share valuable information and resources about 2016 Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment by putting materials in the hands of pharmacists across the country, and promoting nationally with a social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. With locations nationwide, Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s independent pharmacists can guide their patients as trusted healthcare providers in their local communities.
More than 4,500 pharmacies (Good Neighbor Pharmacy stores and all members of AmerisourceBergen’s PSAO, the Elevate Provider Network) received Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Kits. The kits include branded promotional and educational materials: bag stuffers, counter cards, posters/flyers, and a special postcard for Good Neighbor Pharmacy members.
In addition to the mailed enrollment kit, all 4,500 pharmacies also have access to a Health Insurance Marketplace Digital Marketing Kit, available online, which includes all aforementioned materials, as well as additional branded print pieces, and branded content/images for use on social media and websites. Good Neighbor Pharmacy members also have access to additional marketing materials in Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s online custom advertising and marketing resource, Brand Central Station.
Finally an updated publicly available patient-facing website specifically addresses important information for the uninsured. Patients can download HHS materials, review FAQs, click an “Enroll Now” button and other direct links to Healthcare.gov, to explore options and even enroll: MyGNP.com/healthcarecoverage.
National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)
In its third year as an HHS partner, NCPA hosted a webinar led by Department officials for community pharmacists about the Health Insurance Marketplaces and Open Enrollment. A recording was then posted online for use by any of the more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies. In addition, NCPA has highlighted in its newsletter and social media platforms information about Open Enrollment and the resources available to community pharmacists.
For the third year in a row, nearly 4,600 Rite Aid pharmacies in 31 states and the District of Columbia are providing customers with resources about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help them make informed healthcare decisions for them and their families. Rite Aid is providing informational brochures and in-store signage and in all locations, Rite Aid pharmacists and associates, including the Company’s nearly 2,000 Wellness Ambassadors, are assisting customers with general questions and when appropriate, directing them to www.HealthCare.gov. Additionally, Rite Aid is helping to raise awareness on the ACA through its weekly circular, via email and through a dedicated section of www.riteaid.com.
Thrifty White Pharmacy
Thrifty White Pharmacy has been engaging their team members in promoting the Health Insurance Marketplace for three years. For example, all current and new pharmacy employees are assigned a web-based training on the ACA and the Health Insurance Marketplace. Thrifty White Pharmacy has a direct link to the Marketplace on www.thriftywhite.com for customers, and a direct link on the company’s intranet portal for direct pharmacy access. Information about the Marketplace is also communicated to customers in Thrifty White Pharmacy’s Community Health Corner newspaper print ads in most markets served by Thrifty White Pharmacy, and local pharmacists provide voice overs for radio spots in all markets served by Thrifty White Pharmacy. Additionally, brochures and information are placed in all pharmacies and sidewalk signs are placed outside of all pharmacy locations throughout Open Enrollment. Thrifty White Pharmacy also displays videos about the Health Insurance Marketplace on all instore AdFlow television monitors along with Facebook and Twitter postings to help engage customers. Thrifty White Pharmacy is a participating member of Champions for Coverage.
This is the third year in which Walgreens has helped to support Health Insurance Marketplace efforts around enrollment and consumer awareness. Walgreens is helping to educate consumers about the Health Insurance Marketplace through a number of channels, including digital media, in-store marketing efforts, and participation in community events with trained community leaders and pharmacists. In select states, Walgreens is providing health resource panels on prescription bag receipts to help target cash-paying customers, as well as those within certain demographics who may be likely to be eligible for coverage through the Marketplace.
Walgreens is also collaborating with select regional and national health plans to allow in-store brokers to assist with education and enrollment efforts.
Beginning January 1, Walgreens stores chain-wide will again offer to provide medications to newly enrolled patients who have difficulty using new insurance coverage because they don’t have an ID card or number from their insurer.