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Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Kansas City Success StoryClient: Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Kansas City
The Prescription for a Healthier Member Experience
The State of Kansas was one of the first in the country to recognize the need for personalized prescription guidance and savings suggestions for its 44,000 employees and their families. Since implementing Rx Savings Solutions in July of 2014, employees – and the state – have saved over $10 million in prescription expenses by using therapeutic alternatives, generic substitutions, and better price shopping.
When Mike Michael, the director of the State of Kansas employee health benefits plan first heard about Rx Savings Solutions he thought it was just another generic substitution program or price search engine.
He’d seen switching programs before. Pull the list of employees who are using brand name prescriptions, then send a letter to each one showing them how much they can save in co-pay or other out-of-pocket expenses if they switch to the generic version.
It’s been done by employers and pharmacy benefit management companies for years, and it works. But it’s not an easy or guaranteed proposition.
It’s confusing and disruptive for most employees and their families because they’re not sure why they are receiving it and what they should do. It can also add stress and cause hesitation if they’re concerned about possible side effects or changes in their health.
Rx Savings Solutions has really thought through these tough prescription beneﬁts challenges of confusion and rising costs, and it shows in our results. They’re clinicians that really care about our employees, their health, and making sure that everyone gets their medications at the fairest and most affordable prices.Mike Michael,
Director – State Employee Health Benefits Plan,
State of Kansas Department of Health and Environment
But Michael noticed some big differences with Rx Savings Solutions. It wasn’t like other run-of-the-mill switching programs.
“Rx Savings Solutions looks at claims, it looks at therapeutic alternatives, and it compares prices at different pharmacies. Also, most groups today already have a generic utilization rate of 85%+ and Rx Savings Solutions even has the built-in logic to suggest generic to generic savings,” says Michael. “The suggestions are delivered through email and text which makes it very easy for employees to access and act on. It’s the most comprehensive and clinically-sound solution that I’ve seen when it comes to driving safe, easy and personalized prescription savings suggestions.”
With over 85,000 covered lives in the state plan, and an annual spend of $85 million each year, Michael is motivated to save taxpayer dollars, but he’s naturally cautious when it comes to changes that can have serious and widespread ripple effects on employees and their families.
“When we made the decision to launch Rx Savings Solutions, it was important that the program be easy to roll out and truly helpful for our employees,” says Michael. “We’ve found it’s easy for employees to opt in, and it’s easy for them to understand what they need to do to save on their prescriptions. It’s been a very smooth process.”
Change is never easy, especially with as many employees as we have, but Rx Savings Solutions gave us everything we needed to communicate the details and encourage employees to opt in to the program. We used everything we could to get the word out including email newsletters, webinars, breakroom presentations, and mailers.Jennifer Flory,
Senior Manager – State Employee Health Benefits Plan,
State of Kansas Department of Health and Environment
When the State of Kansas decided to make the Rx Savings Solutions pharmacy benefits platform available to employees, Jennifer Flory, senior manager of state health plan operations, spearheaded the roll out. She said the Rx Savings Solutions team made it a hassle-free process.
The communications campaign paid off. About 7,000 members signed up immediately and that number has since risen to over 14,000. Flory said the goal is to grow Rx Savings Solutions registrations by ten percent each year. Year-end savings for just 2016 was over $7 million driven by a 53% action rate by registered members on proactive savings alerts.
Because the Rx Savings Solutions platform is so simple, our employees have been able to access and see their prescriptions savings right away,” says Flory. “Naturally, we’ve had lots of normal questions, but no major issues. They’ve handled everything for us and it has worked as promised.”
Online employee sign-up is fast and easy. Once they’re signed up, employees that use prescription benefits receive notifications via text and email about therapeutic alternatives, generic drugs, and local price differences. The notifications include step-by-step instructions for obtaining the suggested savings.
And if our employees have questions or concerns, Rx Savings Solutions is quick with the answers,” says Flory. “The Rx Savings Solutions team will even make calls to providers on behalf of our employees and help facilitate drug changes, and sort out special pricing using manufacturer rebates, discounts, or benefit tiers.”
The Rx Savings Solutions platform has also been instrumental in facilitating a recent formulary change in diabetic test strips which added to the total savings as well. About 5,000 employees needed to be switched from one manufacturer to another and the Rx Savings Solutions team used text, email and close phone support to help the transition go efficiently.
The effectiveness of the platform and fast return on the Rx Savings Solutions investment has been a pleasant surprise for Michael.
The savings started in the first month, and they just keep getting bigger and bigger, it’s like watching a bank account grow,” says Michael. “So far, in less than two years, our employees and the state combined have saved over $3.4 million. As more employees and their families continue to sign up, we expect that number to grow even faster and larger.”
Michael says the clinical expertise and the comprehensive approach give him confidence in the long-term viability and continued success of Rx Savings Solutions.
Rx Savings Solutions has really thought through these tough prescription benefits challenges of confusion and rising costs, and it shows in our results,” says Michael. “They’re clinicians that really care about our employees, their health, and making sure that everyone gets their medications at the fairest and most affordable prices.”