The prescription drug benefit is one of the most used benefits in the Medical Plan, and the Board of Pensions moves with great care in selecting a partner to administer it. After close to a year of extensive research and receiving proposals from every major pharmacy benefit manager, the Board of Pensions has selected Express Scripts to administer prescriptions beginning in 2021.
"We have a very disciplined approach to selecting business partners that involves bidding out services at least every three years," said Patricia M. Haines, Executive Vice President and Chief Benefits Officer. "Our contract with OptumRx is set to expire at the end of this year. We began looking at our options in 2019."
Express Scripts is the longtime administrator of prescription drug benefits for a large group of denominations in the Church Benefits Association (CBA), representing over 350,000 covered lives. This formidable purchasing coalition, in which the Board is a leader, can leverage its size in negotiating best- in-class contract terms.
"Express Scripts has committed significant resources to servicing CBA accounts," Ms. Haines said. "But our research didn't end with our CBA colleagues. We interviewed current and departed clients outside of CBA to fill out the client satisfaction picture."
The prescription drug world is complex and rising drug costs are a major concern. Ms. Haines' team is responsible for ensuring that the Board has the best partner for navigating this world on behalf of Benefits Plan members and retirees. Express Scripts was selected through a rigorous bidding process managed on behalf of the CBA purchasing coalition. It was among six pharmacy benefit managers to submit a proposal.
In addition to providing a superior proposal, "they showed really well during a focused interview that we conducted on our own," Ms. Haines said. "They reinforced what we had found through our interviews with our CBA colleagues and other clients, current and former."
Express Scripts will administer the prescription drug benefit effective January 1, 2021. Employers and members will receive benefits information this fall.
"We have spent significant time ensuring that the service Express Scripts provides our members will be best in class," Ms. Haines said. "We believe this decision is grounded in appropriate qualitative and quantitative standards, and we're pleased to be a significant participant with the other CBA coalition members under one arrangement."