Cost-Savings and Patient Experience with a Pharmacy-Led Medicare Part D Consultation Service

  • Logan Murry The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy
  • Brandon Gerleman OutcomesMTM
  • Huiwen Deng The University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Julie Urmie The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy
Keywords: pharmacy practice, Medicare Part D, pharmacy service, satisfaction, cost-savings


Background: There are many Medicare Part D plans, making it difficult for patients to choose the optimal plan. The decision to remain on current Medicare plans is reinforced by patient inertia and uncertainty associated with plan-switching decisions. By helping patients identify more cost-effective plans, pharmacists and pharmacy personnel have the ability to inform plan-switching decisions resulting in lower out-of-pocket (OOP) costs.

Objectives: This study evaluates 1) patient experience with a pharmacy Medicare Part D consultation service and 2) potential out-of-pocket savings based on a patient’s best plan for 2019 compared to continuation of a patient’s 2018 Medicare Part D plan. 

Methods: This study was a retrospective descriptive analysis and took place at a single, independently owned community pharmacy. Patients received free individual consultations with a pharmacist that included a medication review and information on all available Part D plans. Patients were selected to receive the service using pharmacy software to identify potential inefficiencies in current Part D plans. Data on satisfaction and perceived pharmacist role in providing Medicare Part D information were collected via an in-person survey administered at the pharmacy. Potential out-of-pocket cost savings were determined using cost information provided for patient specific medication regimens entered into, the online platform for Medicare Part D plan information.

Results: Of the 318 patients identified, 79 used the consultation service. Out of 79 patients who used the service in fall of 2017, 44 completed the survey for a response rate of 56%.

Patients generally reported good experiences with the service. Open-ended responses revealed patients utilize a variety of helpers for plan information and decisions. A subset of 14 patients were identified as having clear plan-switching decisions and were included in the cost-savings analysis.

Conclusions: Patients using a free Medicare Part D plan consultation were satisfied with the service, suggesting that helpers were an important resource n their plan-selection process. Using the pharmacist-led Part D consultation may result in decreases in out-of-pocket cost savings due to identification of optimal Medicare Part D plans.


Article Type: Note

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Submitted: 2020-03-26
Accepted: 2020-05-19
Published: 2020-06-08
Practice-Based Research