Addressing Misconceptions Around Opening A Medicare-Focused Insurance Agency


Joe McKamey, general manager at Marcrom’s Pharmacy, highlights the potential pitfalls or misconceptions that pharmacies may encounter when opening a Medicare-focused insurance agency.

At the American Associated Pharmacies (AAP) Annual Conference, held April 4 to 6 in San Diego, California, Drug Topics sat down with Joe McKamey, general manager at Marcrom’s Pharmacy in Manchester, Tennessee, to talk about potential pitfalls or misconceptions that pharmacies might encounter when opening their own Medicare-focused insurance agency and why it’s essential for the insurance agency to operate as a standalone business separate from the pharmacy.

“One of the common misconceptions is, ‘Is this legal?’ It’s totally legal,” McKamey said. “It’s basically like if you owned an ice cream shop and you were telling your patients ‘Hey, I own this ice cream shop, you should go get this great ice cream.’ Nobody has any problem with that. It’s really the same thing. You just own another business that you’re referring people to. I think that’s something that a lot of people struggle to get over.”

McKamey also discussed why it's crucial to keep the insurance agency separate from pharmacy operations. This is important because steering a patient towards a certain insurance plan is not something patients or other insurance companies would see as good business practice. Keeping patient information private is also critical. If you would not share some patient data from your pharmacy with another insurance company, than you also should not share it with your own.

“There’s not really a lot of downside to it,” McKamey said. “Because here’s the truth. In any business, what we’re all looking for are people. What we’re all looking for are potential customers and that’s especially true in a business like insurance. With that being the case, we already have access to people. We’ve got a huge blessing in that we’ve got people walking in the door all the time. The business is there. People need it. It’s just a matter of connecting the dots and doing it.”

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