NCPA Offers Independent Community Pharmacies Resources for Launch of Insurance Exchanges

Published Online: Monday, September 30, 2013
Follow Pharmacy_Times:
PRESS RELEASE

Alexandria, Va. (Sept. 30, 2013) – The advent of Health Insurance Marketplaces, commonly known as insurance exchanges, presents new questions and opportunities for independent community pharmacists, and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) is offering its members valuable resources and guidance to make the most of one of the biggest changes to the U.S. health care system in a generation.
 
NCPA has developed the Insurance Exchange webpage to help pharmacy staff respond to and engage patients about the marketplaces, as well as to inform pharmacy small business owners about their options for providing insurance to employees under the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Access to the resources is available to any NCPA member via the members-only section of www.ncpanet.org.
 
“The Affordable Care Act may be controversial, but there is no disputing that it represents a significant change to the health care landscape,” NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. “What distinguishes America’s more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies is their focus on patient care, and NCPA constantly works to strengthen that relationship through member-only benefit offerings.
 
“Pharmacists have the flexibility to take an active role in helping patients find the right plan for them in the marketplaces. In contrast, pharmacists are prohibited from counseling seniors to select a specific Medicare Part D drug plan.  Nevertheless, when the Part D program was launched in 2006, pharmacists stepped in to provide crucial assistance to seniors dealing with the initial Part D glitches. Those efforts were duly noted by Michael Leavitt, then Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, who called pharmacists’ efforts at the time ‘nothing short of heroic.’
 
The NCPA Insurance Exchanges webpage contains answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), pharmacy-specific resources, patient outreach information, downloadable documents, and patient-centric information. This includes notable features such as a comparison between the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicare Part D (a program independent community pharmacies help patients navigate during the enrollment window at the end of each calendar year), and information about special requirements some exchanges might have for participation in enrollment activities. In addition, the webpage has exclusive NCPA marketing materials intended for use by pharmacies with patients.
 
The website is the centerpiece of NCPA’s support to its members in this area, which has also included a colleague-to-colleague Members Forum conference call (a recording of which is available on the site) and informative articles in its eNews Weekly and America’s Pharmacist member-only newsletter.
 
The federal Health Insurance Marketplace website, where patients can shop for health insurance online, is scheduled to open tomorrow, Oct. 1, 2013 and enrollment runs until Mar. 31, 2014. Coverage will start as soon as Jan. 1, 2014. Prescription drug coverage is required by law to be included in any qualified health plan in the marketplace. Pharmacists, as clinically-trained medication experts, are uniquely qualified to help assist patients in selecting the plan that best suits their medical and financial needs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 7 million uninsured Americans are expected to sign up for new health plans during the six-month open enrollment period.
Related Articles
Pharmacists are getting closer to obtaining provider status, as federal legislation that would enable pharmacists to provide health care services to Medicare patients in underserved communities has been reintroduced in the US Senate and House of Representatives.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of King v. Burwell, leading groups fighting chronic disease provide scientific evidence of the grave consequences if millions of people nationwide were to lose the tax credits provided under the Affordable Care Act that provide the financial assistance they need to afford health coverage.
Leaders of Senate and House committees with health care jurisdiction should hold oversight hearings to examine the issues that plagued approximately 50,000 beneficiaries who are covered by Aetna Medicare Part D drug plans.
Community pharmacists are most concerned about below-cost reimbursement for certain generic drugs as well as exclusionary Medicare drug plans according to a survey conducted by the National Community Pharmacists Association that asked its members to help identify the organization’s 2015 priorities.
Latest Issues
  • photo
    Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Health-System Edition
    photo
    Directions in Pharmacy
    photo
    OTC Guide
    photo
    Generic Supplements
  • photo
    Pharmacy Careers
    photo
    Specialty Pharmacy Times
    photo
    Generic
$auto_registration$