CVS Health is rolling out a pair of digital health and data tools it claims will help shoppers get better price breaks on prescription drugs.
But the tools are for pharmacists and healthcare providers with access to the CVS prescription benefits management system—and not for direct-to-consumer. The newly introduced CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder enables the retail pharmacist at the chain’s 9,700 stores to review a patient’s prescription regimen, medication history and insurance plan information to determine the best way for them to save money on out-of-pocket costs and find the lowest-cost alternative under their pharmacy benefits plan.
“Our direct experience is that patients who are confronted with high out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter are less likely to pick up their prescriptions and are less likely to be adherent to their prescribed therapy,” says CVS executive vice president, retail pharmacy Kevin Hourican.
The Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder will let pharmacists see if a prescribed medication is on the patient’s formulary and is the lowest-cost option available, as well as check if there are lower-cost options covered under the patient’s pharmacy benefit such as a generic medication or therapeutic alternative. Other features let the pharmacist check to see if the patient could save money by filling a 90-day prescription rather than a 30-day prescription and check available options for eligible or uninsured patients.
A final feature allows CVS pharmacists to enroll shoppers in the chain’s ExtraCare loyalty program to receive $5 in discount coupons, which CVS calls ExtraBucks, for every 10 prescriptions filled with a cap of $50 annually.
For physicians CVS is rolling out an updated real-time benefits system, which enables providers to see the member-specific cost for a selected drug, based on a member’s coverage, along with up to five lowest-cost, clinically appropriate therapeutic alternatives.
Early results show that doctors accessing real-time benefits information through the patient’s electronic health record switched their patient’s drug from a non-covered drug to a cheaper drug 85% of the time, CVS says. In addition, when the patient’s drug is covered, physicians using real-time benefits switch their patient to a lower-cost alternative 30% of the time, CVS says.
“Today’s consumers are faced with higher prescription drug prices than ever before and many of them are now paying for a larger share of their prescription drug costs out of their own pockets at the pharmacy counter due to growth in high deductible health plans,” says CVS Health chief policy and external affairs officer Thomas Moriarty. “Until now, patients haven’t had the appropriate tools available to them to help them manage these costs. To address this, CVS Health is giving expanded tools to patients, prescribers and pharmacists so they can evaluate prescription drug coverage in real time and identify lower-cost alternatives.”
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