CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) today announced the results of the Company’s annual employer client benefit survey about priorities for PBM services in the coming year. The majority of employers surveyed (94 percent) said they will seek opportunities to improve savings even more in 2010, while they look for ways to improve the overall member experience. Overall, employers listed price (86 percent), customer service (86 percent), trust and reliability (84 percent) and consumer engagement capabilities (46 percent) as key priorities for their PBM procurement strategy.
“The economic environment continues to impact companies this year, with 66 percent telling us that reducing overall health care costs is their number one success measure,” said Jack Bruner, Executive Vice President, Strategic Development, Caremark Pharmacy Services. “Employers tell us they are looking for more aggressive solutions to increase generic utilization and manage specialty pharmacy costs, while also focusing on programs to increase medication adherence and manage chronic diseases.”
This annual survey enables CVS Caremark to provide clients with a barometer that highlights shared issues and priorities among their peer group and provides insights into what strategies other companies are implementing or considering. The account teams also use this information to work directly with their clients to determine specific priorities and tailor PBM services that best help them reach their goals.
“We are well positioned to deliver on both of our employer clients’ key priorities – lowering costs while improving the member experience,” said Bruner. “We are able to provide our clients with access to a variety of plan designs that manage costs while also incorporating services that counsel members so that they better understand their options and can make informed decisions that result in savings for both the member and the benefit sponsor.”
With regard to plan designs to help employers manage costs, CVS Caremark offers a variety of options to increase generic utilization and brand to generic conversions. Survey results show that the majority of employer clients are strongly considering adopting some of the more progressive strategies to encourage the use of lower-cost generic medications. For example, almost half of employers surveyed are considering implementing plan designs that require using a generic medication first before moving to a branded drug (48 percent) and those that provide members a co-pay waiver to switch to generic medications (56 percent). In addition, compared to the 2009 survey results, there has been a significant increase in employers who are adopting or considering solutions to improve medication adherence.
In particular, many employer clients are considering programs that impact adherence through counseling and intervention with the member, including: counseling to improve adherence the first time a member fills a maintenance medication (62 percent), outreach to prescribers to resolve gaps in care (56 percent) and outreach to members and prescribers to provide counsel about therapy drop-off (65 percent).
The CVS Caremark client survey was conducted on-line from October 5, 2009 through December 31, 2009 and includes responses from current CVS Caremark clients representing 285 employers and approximately 7.3 million lives.