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Mail or Retail: Customers Have a Choice

Why choose Maintenance Choice(™)? Just ask CVS's employer clients, who have been signing up for this innovative, exclusive new offering at a record pace.

 Maintenance Choice program provides flexible health and wellness options

It's simple, explains David Joyner, EVP Sales and Account Services at CVS Caremark. "Maintenance Choice provides savings while adding participant choice and access, and that's exactly what our employer clients are looking for."

So what is Maintenance Choice™? It's one of the most ground-breaking programs offered by any PBM (Pharmacy Benefits Manager) in the country, giving our plan participants the option of receiving their 90-day supply of long-term, maintenance medicines by mail or by having them dispensed at their local CVS/pharmacy at the typically lower mail copayment.

Employers are typically slow to adopt new PBM offerings, but after a pilot with just four clients in 2008 our clients immediately saw the value of Maintenance Choice. CVS Caremark fully launched the program to 200 clients earlier this year, covering more than 2.4 million people. The program now has 250 clients signed up. In fact, Maintenance Choice is the fastest-growing of all our new PBM offerings.

"It's pretty remarkable how quickly we've gotten clients to adopt this within the first year," says Helena Foulkes, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer for CVS Caremark. "We were able to communicate the program clearly, galvanize our sales force and really deliver on the value proposition. This was truly an enterprise-wide effort that took the hard work of hundreds of individuals to make it real."

Participants whose benefit plans include mandatory or incentivized mail – in which they may fill 90-day prescriptions by mail at a lower copay than filling long-term (maintenance) prescriptions every 30 days at retail – get the same cost savings of mail with the choice of being able to have the prescriptions dispensed at retail. Having this option can increase their satisfaction with their plan. In fact, a survey of Maintenance Choice participants reveals that 90 percent consider the program a benefit enhancement.

Although Maintenance Choice requires a change in plan design to mandatory or incentivized mail, Helena is optimistic that we will continue to see new clients adopt this program.

Helena cites that 51 percent of employers say they would adopt mandatory mail with the assurance of participant satisfaction. "This plan design, with the benefits of Maintenance Choice, lends itself well to these employers because it provides the savings of mail with minimal disruption to the participant," she notes.

"Consumers like choice, and we're giving them the choice of mail or retail," Helena says. "A large segment of our participants will always prefer mail, and we have the best mail pharmacies in the country. With Maintenance Choice, those who prefer retail can fill their 90-day prescription at CVS."

In one of the Maintenance Choice pilots – a client that had been using mandatory mail for several years – 45 percent of mail prescriptions moved to CVS after just six months.

We are taking every step to make using Maintenance Choice easy. For example, if a 30-day prescription needs to get converted to 90-day at CVS, we contact the prescriber to get a longer prescription. And if the participants are not already CVS/pharmacy customers, we reach out to them via a letter to help them make the transition.

Most important, we have solved an issue for clients, David explains. "Clients want to save money and have as much plan participant satisfaction as possible. In this challenging economy, Maintenance Choice provides tangible savings with limited participant disruption."

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