Buyers Health Care Action Group Selects PharmaCare as Preferred PBM; Company to Provide Services for Up to 1/2 Million Members

Thursday, November 4, 2004

LINCOLN, R.I., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- PharmaCare, one of the nation's leading prescription benefit managers (PBMs), announced today that it has been selected by the Buyers Health Care Action Group (BHCAG) as the preferred provider of pharmacy benefit management services for its more than 500,000 members from public and private organizations across the United States.

BHCAG is a coalition of over 30 employers including Minnesota Life, Jostens, SUPERVALU and Park Nicollet, who combine their purchasing power and work closely with health care providers and administrators to create a health care delivery method that provides access to quality, cost-effective care for employees and their families.

Effective January 1, 2005, PharmaCare will manage a comprehensive retail pharmacy network and provide online claims processing, mail order, specialty and formulary management services for coalition members. PharmaCare will also implement a variety of patient-centric and clinical programs for BHCAG, including initiatives that educate and empower members to make better informed decisions about their care.

According to BHCAG CEO Carolyn Pare, "PharmaCare's proven performance and solid reputation, its responsiveness to BHCAG's needs, the company's willingness to be innovative with our employers, and competitive pricing were the key factors in our choice."

BHCAG's review of potential PBMs began in March after the organization identified areas where it felt it could improve its pharmacy benefit structure, including: better alignment of incentives for employees, employers, pharmacists, physicians and the PBM; accountability for all these stakeholders; transparent pricing and reporting of all costs; and the use of technology to promote e-prescribing for improved patient safety.

"We recognized that no single PBM could currently provide us everything we wanted so the question became, 'Who would be the best partner to get us there in the future?' and PharmaCare was the clear choice," said Laurie Fenwick, manager of employee benefits at Minnesota Life, one of the coalition members.

During the next three years, the two organizations will work together to develop creative ways to evolve BHCAG's pharmacy benefit program, including offering coalition members such programs as GENesisTM and PatientAlertTM designed to boost generic utilization among employees by educating them about cost-effective equivalents of the brand prescriptions they are currently taking.

Another critical component of BHCAG's decision, according to Paul Wernick, a consultant with the firm of Watson Wyatt who managed the vendor selection process, was customer service. Renowned in the industry for receiving top marks in customer satisfaction, Wernick said, "The employers are very excited to move forward with PharmaCare."

"We take a leading-edge approach to health care purchasing and PharmaCare complements key aspects of our philosophy," explained Pare. "One of our top priorities is to educate members about factors driving health care costs and what they can do to help control them. PharmaCare's patient-centric programs will help increase employees' knowledge and responsibility for their health care decisions and move us closer to our vision of consumer-driven health care."

"Throughout the selection process, we proved we were flexible and responsive to BHCAG's needs, and that set us apart from the competition" said Greg Weishar, PharmaCare's President and CEO. "BHCAG's selection of PharmaCare firmly establishes our position as a leader in the industry and we are eager to work with the coalition members to develop innovative programs and services that will help them continue to revolutionize the health care system."

About BHCAG

Formed in 1988 to reshape health care delivery, the over 30-member BHCAG employer coalition works to improve the quality and efficiency of health care, increase provider competition and enhance consumer knowledge of health care and responsibility for their health decisions.