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RETAIL NEWS

EnvisionRxOptions plays differentiation role for Rite Aid

BY David Salazar

As Rite Aid embarks on what its leaders have dubbed the company’s “Path to the Future,” among the assets executives said position it well for years to come is EnvisionRxOptions.

Acquired by Rite Aid in 2015, the Twinsburg, Ohio-based company provides pharmacy benefits and services to over 21 million members nationwide, which includes its growing Medicare Part D plan, EnvisionRxPlus and pharmacy benefits manager EnvisionRx. According to recently appointed CEO Ben Bulkley, nearly 650,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries get their prescription benefit from Envision, and the PBM already has added more than 200,000 lives this year.

Bulkley, who joined the company in late February, touted the company’s transparent PBM model. In this approach, which is preferred by the majority of its clients, Envision does not retain rebates or “spread” pricing on dispensed medications. Instead, Envision passes rebates and discounts on to plan sponsors, who also can opt to leverage Envision’s technology and pass these savings on to patients at the point of sale.

“Our transparent PBM is a key strength for us, and that’s been behind our early momentum this year,” he said. “Our people are a key strength as well, because we’ve been in this model since its inception. They’ve grown up in this model, supporting our clients in this way, so there’s a cultural element of always wanting to be on the side of the client or member that’s an important part of who we are.”

Bulkley said EnvisionRxOptions’ client support begins with helping plan sponsors design prescription benefits using analysis of the plan’s previous performance. The company then implements the plan — a process that includes walking new members through the benefit design and any changes that may have taken place between plan years.

“It is as much about being consistent as it is anything else,” he said. “Consistently providing a high service level is what we’re striving for.”

Today, PBMs increasingly are tasked with cost-containment efforts as medication spending increases. This means undertaking such efforts as formulary management, which Bulkley said is an active conversation with clients from the start, as well as clinical support for patients to enable better adherence and therapy completion.

Bulkley said that being part of Rite Aid, with its pharmacy base, as well as its RediClinics and Health Dialog population health management company, creates an offering that is truly unique and that can help deliver a higher level of care to patients.

“What we’re beginning to see and will see more of is the rise of the pharmacist as a more impactful provider of care,” he said. “Whether it’s Health Dialog or EnvisionRxOptions, a common thread for all of us is investing in that clinical capability because it’s becoming more important.”

As he leads the PBM, Bulkley said he is focused on building partnerships with regional health plans, which he said EnvisionRxOptions is well positioned to help given its status as pharmacy-owned versus other PBMs that are owned by health plans and, often, compete with regional and system-owned plans.

“We want to carefully pursue parts of the market in which we are best positioned to service and achieve a mutually successful partnership, while continuing to increase our service levels so clients, once they come with us, never want to leave,” he said. “We’ll do this while continuing to invest in the clinical programs with Rite Aid and other assets within the company.”

 

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