The 65+ consumer: addressing specific needs enhancing communication

Lance Collie
Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, United States

THE HISTORY

On December 8, 2003, President Bush signed into law the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. This legislation provided new prescription drug benefits for 36 million Americans aged 65 years and older and 6 million younger Americans with permanent disabilities. Although it passed in 2003 this new Medicare benefit did not take effect until 2006.

This was a sweeping change in the US healthcare industry. In the years before this change, most older Americans paid for prescription medications out of their own pocket or through supplemental private insurance from a previous employer. As a result, most large health insurance companies were focused on marketing to large corporations. With the new system, these companies would be subsidized by the Federal government to provide pharmaceutical insurance to individual patients. With the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, the health insurance industry had two tremendous new challenges: understanding the modern 65+ consumer who hasn't ever been their customer, and, in a dramatic departure from their experience, creating marketing plans that focused on individuals seeking insurance.