X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Photo: AP

These days, every major health insurer just has to have its own pharmacy unit. And those that don’t are apparently willing to go quite the length to get to that happy place. 

UnitedHealth Group has its own in-house pharmacy benefit manager, OptumRx, and ostensibly enjoys the benefits of that close relationship. Now, reports Forbes, Anthem wants one, too. The problem? It has a contract with an outside vendor, Express Scripts, through 2019. 

What to do? Dump ‘em, what else. Anthem is already in a legal dispute with Scripts, charging the vendor with price gouging. But, as Forbes notes, Anthem wants more form the federal suit than money back: It wants a divorce. 

Anthem is asking the court to allow it to terminate its Scripts contract ahead of the expiration date. Given the advantages these days of having your pharmacy management team just down the hall at one’s beck and call, three years is a long time to wait. Since its merger with Cigna gives the combined company considerable clout in prescription management, Anthem clearly wants to move quickly in that direction. 

And not a moment too soon. According to Forbes, Aetna has said it will grow a substantial in-house pharmacy unit once its merger with Humana is history. 

But can Anthem pump up Cigna’s existing, and rather small, PBM into a competitive force? First things first: Anthem needs to get out from under the Scripts contract, a move that is in no way assured at this point.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO.com, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited BenefitsPRO.com content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical BenefitsPRO.com information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com

Already have an account?

Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.

More from this author

 

BenefitsPRO

Join BenefitsPRO

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to navigate the shifting employee benefits industry. Join BenefitsPRO.com now!

  • Unlimited access to BenefitsPRO.com - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
  • Exclusive discounts on BenefitsPRO.com and ALM events.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join BenefitsPRO
Live Chat

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.