US-Mexico Border
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$1,600,000.

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That is the amount of totallasers that I was facing for one of my clients who had sixemployees on high cost pharmaceuticals at our first renewaltogether. Not too long ago, an advisor might have seen thesenumbers and thought “This sucks, but it is what it is.” But that'snot so much the case anymore. After all, a high-cost claim onpharmacy can now be mitigated in many ways. There are manufacturersassistance programs, specialty carve outs, and globally sourcedpharmaceuticals, to name a few. I'm personally pretty familiar withthat last one, as I globally source my sons Epi-Pens fromCanada.

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Also: Why brokers and their clients are keen on medicaltourism

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Anyway, not long after seeing myclient's numbers, I was contacted on LinkedIn by the COO of AngelesHospital International, a private hospital in Tijuana. He told methat their hospital did two things: bundled surgeries and globallysourced pharmaceuticals. He wanted to know if I would like to cometalk to them and tour their facilities. As fate would have it, Iwas going to be in San Diego later that same month for a benefitsconference and decided to explore the option.

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I was super excited to go, butwanted a couple more people to come with me. The first recruit Imade was a no brainer, my friend Bill Hepshire of RXManage, aglobally sourced pharma company. I also invited my friends DavidContorno and Tim Doherty. David immediately said yes; Tim somewhatreluctantly agreed to go to Tijuana with a stranger.

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Later that month, we were pickedup from the San Diego airport in a beautiful BMW SUV by the COO at Angeles HospitalInternational. He took us across the border, which was only a20-minute drive. We arrived at a beautiful, extremely cleanhospital and had an hour long tour, followed by an in-depthpresentation on their pharmaceutical capabilities. During thepresentation, they explained the process by which an employee wouldobtain a drug. An employee would fly into San Diego, get picked upat the airport and taken to Tijuanaverysimilar to our own experience. They could receive up to athree-month supply of a drug at one time. Then they would be takenback to San Diego to spend the day and a night there. They couldcome back over the border the next day and receive another 90-daysupply. Then they would be taken to the airport and head backhome.


➤➤ Be sure to see Rachel Miner discuss “How tohelp employers reduce costs & improve outcomes with creativeplan designs” at the 2019 BenefitsPRO BrokerExpo.


Bill, Tim, and I were all veryimpressed by their cold supply chain management techniques. Inaddition, the savings potential was incredible, as drugs which aremanufactured in the same facilities as our U.S. drugs cost around70 percent less than we pay in the US.

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Is every employer in Americagoing to be open to globally sourced pharmaceuticals? Absolutelynot! However, for certain companies that are looking for new andinnovative ways to contain their health plan costs, it could be avery viable option. Opportunities are out there, you just have tolook hard enough.

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