WellPoint health plans send pill boxes to Medicare members to promote adherence

February 22, 2013

WellPoint and its affiliated health plans (WellPoint) have distributed pill boxes at no extra cost to more than 187,000 at-risk members of Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans across the country as a friendly reminder for them to take their medicines.

 

WellPoint and its affiliated health plans (WellPoint) have distributed pill boxes at no extra cost to more than 187,000 at-risk members of Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans across the country as a friendly reminder for them to take their medicines.

“WellPoint developed this program to educate members of its affiliated plans on the importance of taking their medications,” WellPoint spokesperson Doug Bennett Jr, said. “The pill box was provided as a tool and an educational piece was provided on the importance of compliance to drug regimens.”

Members on long-term medications in Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans were stratified through claims data, and those at-risk of non-compliance were sent a pill box through the mail. The clear boxes are designed to hold a week of medication, including vitamins and over-the-counter drugs. The boxes help members keep their pills organized, and remind them when a dose is due or missed and when refills are needed.

According to Bennett, distribution costs for the pill boxes were relatively low, but he could not disclose the exact pricing.

According to one study, people with chronic diseases typically take only 50% of doses prescribed by their doctors, costing the system more than $100 billion annually, due primarily to hospitalizations that otherwise could have been avoided.

The primary goal is to help members stay healthy by staying on their prescribed drug regimen,” Bennett said. “Ideally, this also would result in fewer acute conditions for our members, and may also help decrease hospital admissions and costs. For example, if members adhere more closely to their blood pressure medicine, they may be able to reduce their risk for other cardiovascular concerns. We are also eager to improve member satisfaction and raise our CMS clinical Star scores.”

“WellPoint continues to explore programs to encourage compliance to their prescribed regimens as well as get recommended health screenings,” Bennett said. “For example, we send all Medicare Advantage members a personalized Healthy Checklist that encourages them to talk with their doctor about preventive screenings and services they may need, as well as to see their doctors for an annual wellness visit and other health concerns.”

The Healthy Checklist also encourages members with chronic conditions to take medication as directed and to work with their doctor to manage their condition.