What do payers consider as they grapple with the medication access and adherence needs of at-risk patients during the Covid-19 pandemic? Experts at McMann Managed Markets and Syneos Health surveyed their proprietary payer advisory boards to find out.
Payers respond to disruptions in care
Gregory Novello, Executive VP, Strategy at McCann Health Managed Markets, says even for patients without COVID-19, the pandemic has interfered with their care. “It can make it a barrier or harder for patients to get access to medication – think of chronic conditions as an example, folks who are dealing with diabetes or cardiovascular conditions.”
To make it less of a hassle to these patients, payers are extending authorizations and relaxing refill requirements. That way, Novello says, patients “can get medication earlier so there’s way less of a chance of them having a lapse in treatment.”
Adrian Garcia, Senior VP, Managed Markets at Syneos Health says the financial impact of the stay-at-home orders with their associated business shutdowns, layoffs, and job losses “creates an opportunity for patients to ration their products, or stop taking their chronic medications, and that’s a disaster for everybody.”
As a result, Garcia says, many payers have removed their copay requirements “to make sure patients have no excuses to stop their medication. They want to maintain the environment as much as they can.”
Increased outreach from case managers
Novello notes that health plans are proactively reaching out to at-risk members. “Case managers are looking at at-risk members, and reaching out to them, because in this time of COVID-19, it’s a crisis, but a lot of these at-risk members could be at risk for COVID-19. They’re looking at comorbidities. Behavioral health’s a thing now, with people stuck in the house and the fear and panic they may have.”
Canceled conferences create information gaps
When Syneos Health surveyed payers, the number one concern was… canceled conferences. This is not about missing “exotic” conference locations but rather missing interactions with colleagues and getting updates on new products and new technologies. Katherine Seay, Executive VP, Managing Director at Syneos Health notes “They are actually looking now for more opportunities to engage with their peers, to engage with thought leaders, KOLs in specific therapeutics areas. They’re looking for input for data. So this is an opportunity, in our minds, to use some of these great technologies and platforms to create some of those interactions with payers that they’re missing.”
Excerpted from an article in Med Ad News, a publication that covers pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing.
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