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Inexpensive pill boxes could help at-risk members remain adherent to drug regimens and help WellPoint earn a higher star rating
Last month, WellPoint mailed out free pill boxes to more than 187,000 at-risk Medicare Part D members across the country. The boxes have divided compartments to organize doses for each day of the week, and WellPoint’s goal is to improve the patients’ medication adherence.
“WellPoint developed this program to educate members of its affiliated plans on the importance of taking their medications,” WellPoint spokesperson Doug Bennett Jr., says. “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-adherence were sent a pill box through the mail. The clear boxes are designed to hold a week’s worth 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 or when refills are needed.
According to one study, patients with chronic diseases typically take only 50% of doses prescribed by their physicians, costing the system more than $100 billion annually, attributed primarily to hospitalizations that otherwise could have been avoided.
According to Bennett, distribution costs for the pill boxes were relatively low, but he could not disclose the exact investment.
The program could also help to improve member satisfaction and raise Medicare star ratings for the plan.