Effectiveness of mailed letters to improve medication adherence among Medicare Advantage Plan participants with chronic conditions
Received 31 August 2018
Accepted for publication 1 December 2018
Published 20 December 2018 Volume 2019:13 Pages 37—46
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen
Amanda Mann,1 Tara W Esse,2 Omar Serna,2 Liana D Castel,3,4 Susan M Abughosh5
1Cigna-HealthSpring, Houston, TX, USA; 2CareAllies, Houston, TX, USA; 3Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Raleigh, NC, USA; 4Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC, USA; 5Department of Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy, University of Houston College of Pharmacy, Houston, TX, USA
Background: Medication adherence is associated with improved health outcomes in multiple chronic diseases. Information is needed on the effectiveness of specific adherence interventions. This study’s objectives were to quantify effects of a targeted mailing intervention on adherence among older adults at risk for nonadherence, and to examine associations of individual and plan characteristics with adherence.
Materials and methods: Among adults enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage from May 2014 to June 2015, those identified as eligible for the mailing intervention had a late refill for oral antidiabetic medication, statin, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, or angiotensin receptor blocker medication and were previously unreachable by telephone. Pharmacy claims data were analyzed with the outcome of 6-month proportion of days covered (PDC) before and after the mailing. The t-test and chi-square analyses were used to evaluate univariate associations. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were conducted to assess relative covariate effects. A sub-analysis of those with at least one medication fill post-mailing was also performed.
Results: A total of 460 non-adherent individuals aged 70±10.5 years, with 50.2% female and 66.7% white individuals, were included. Of those who were mailed a letter, 24.1% became adherent to the specified maintenance medication. Those who received >30-day supplies were more than twice as likely to become adherent after the mailed letter than those who received 30-day supplies or less (P<0.05). Baseline higher PDC was also associated with greater adherence post-mailing (P<0.01). A total of 284 (61.7%) individuals filled their medication at least once after the mailed letter; of those, 39.1% became adherent (mean [SD] change in PDC =0.15 [±0.28]).
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a single mailed letter improved medication adherence by 24.1% in adults with chronic conditions. As a health plan seeking to improve its customers’ well-being and outcomes, Cigna continues to utilize targeted mail interventions to improve medication adherence.
Keywords: patient compliance, chronic disease, managed care programs, Medicare, Medicare Part D, Medicare Part C, mail distributions, population health, program evaluation
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