Q&A: eHealth’s Mecier highlights how to help patients navigate Medicare plans
Helping patients manage their health insurance and Medicare plan options is at the heart of eHealth’s mission. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, founded in 1999, currently has more than 1,00 employees who work to make it easier and faster to shop for health insurance and prescription drug coverage. Drug Store News caught up with Alisha Mecier, eHealth’s vice president of business development, to discuss how it partners with pharmacies and helps patients.
Drug Store News: How does eHealth work with pharmacies and what are the benefits for pharmacies that you partner with?
Alisha Mecier: Health partners with pharmacies to help Medicare-eligible customers enroll in plans that give patients the best pricing for their prescription drugs at their preferred pharmacy.
eHealth has the largest selection of Medicare, small group and individual health plans of any broker in the country, which enables us to provide customers with plans that best fit their needs. We provide partners with a turnkey, market-tested solution that helps them retain patients aging into Medicare, as well as engage new customers. Medicare beneficiaries receive valuable information and help enrolling in plans that best meet their needs, which in turn supports pharmacies’ revenue growth.
DSN: How have you helped pharmacy retailers amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
AM: Following the coronavirus shutdown, in less than a month, eHealth reconfigured our Medicare partner online exchanges to feature Medicare educational content (videos and free downloadable guidebooks) so that people aging into Medicare could better understand the program. At the same time, eHealth began offering monthly webinars for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries to replace in-person seminars, which people often use to learn about Medicare.
eHealth’s entire agent salesforce moved to working from home, and our leading online shopping and enrollment experience already had us well-positioned to serve these consumers.
DSN: What are the challenges for pharmacy customers who are Medicare beneficiaries?
AM: It can be intimidating for Medicare beneficiaries to choose from the hundreds of available plans, including prescription drug plans, supplemental plans and Medicare Advantage.
Researching and selecting the right coverage can seem confusing and complicated, especially when you consider the importance of factoring in a preferred pharmacy, prescription drug coverage and the cost of medications.
DSN: Describe eHealth’s enhanced education and enrollment program.
AM: Our programs help pharmacies educate customers, including those who are aging into Medicare, and enroll these customers into coverage that best meets their needs.
Through our webinars, online education program and best-in-class shopping tools, eHealth provides a world-class experience for partner customers. Our partner-branded educational materials help people learn about the issues that matter most to them, including how Medicare can best serve them and the benefits offered by Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement and Medicare prescription drug plans. When customers are ready to enroll, our powerful online search tools help people identify and select the Medicare coverage that is right for them, based on their preferred doctors, hospitals and pharmacies.
DSN: What are the challenges for pharmacy retailers and Medicare beneficiaries going forward, and how can you help?
AM: Changing dynamics in health care are redefining everything from customer interactions to reimbursement. For pharmacies seeking to navigate these challenges and grow revenue, eHealth’s pharmacy program can help.
Our new programs tie in digitally with pharmacy management systems to help increase fills, retain patients aging into Medicare, capture new business and deliver a seamless customer experience. Using de-identified data, we provide patients with customized, unbiased information to help them select the best coverage for them.
eHealth is always working to help improve customer experience, patient engagement and digital integration, and we’re ready to partner with pharmacies to help patients meet their health and prescription drug coverage needs.