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CVS Health to help customers find less expensive medications

BY Marianne Wilson

CVS Health has launched an ambitious initiative to help patients tackle the rising costs of prescription drugs.

The centerpiece of the program is a tool, the “CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder,” that will provide more transparency at CVS pharmacy counters. It will enable the company’s 30,000 pharmacists to check for prescription savings opportunities right at the counter. Pharmacists will be able to quickly 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 under their pharmacy benefits plan.

“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,” said Thomas Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, CVS Health. “Until now, patients haven’t had the appropriate tools available to them to help them manage these costs.”

The new tool will show the pharmacist if the prescribed medication is on the patient’s plan and is the lowest cost option available, and if there are lower-cost options covered under the patient’s pharmacy benefit such as a generic medication. It will also show any cost savings that may be gained by filling a 90-day prescription rather than a 30-day one, and if a generic or lower-cost alternative is not available, other potential savings options for eligible or uninsured patients where allowed.

CVS said that experience has shown 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. The company will launch the new system initially with its CVS Caremark PBM members, and roll it out more broadly throughout the year.

“Armed with the information available through our Rx Savings Finder, our more than 30,000 CVS pharmacists can play an important role by helping patients save money on their medications, providing advice on how and when to take them, and ultimately helping them achieve better health outcomes,” said Kevin Hourican, executive VP, retail pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy.

CVS has also introduced new ways doctors of their customers can see drug costs “in real time” through a program available in the physician’s office that allows prescribers to pick lower cost medicines.

The new prescription cost-saving program comes as CVS is in the process of completing its acquisition of Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurance company.

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L.Fitzsimmons says:
Apr-12-2018 11:04 am

I find this interesting considering the least expensive insurance option for many is Blink Health, which CVS stopped accepting last year.

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Teens more hot for food than clothing

BY Marianne Wilson

Teenagers are really into food.

In a trend that’s been growing in recent years, teens are spending more money on food than clothing, according to Piper Jaffray 35th semi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey, which highlights discretionary spending trends and brand preferences among 6,000 teens across 40 U.S. states. The survey showed that overall teen spending is up 6% from fall, and up 2% from a year ago.

“Our spring survey has shown an uptick in teen spending, which we believe mirrors the economic expansion we are experiencing broadly,” said Erinn Murphy, senior research analyst, Piper Jaffray. “Within a teen’s wallet, food is the top priority but video games (for males) and beauty (for females) are gaining share.”

Top restaurants with teens include Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Chipotle and McDonalds.

Beauty spending hit a new high for female teens at $368 per year. It was up 4% over last year and 22% from last fall, with the increase driven by the skincare category.

On the apparel front, streetwear saw the largest incremental gains, led by Vans and Supreme. The survey also found that a 1990s revival is underway with Champion and Tommy Hilfiger. But Ralph Lauren moved out of the top-10 brand list for males. It had been top-10 brand since 2002.

In other teen preferences:

• Nike is the top (23%) clothing brand, followed by American Eagle Outfitters (10%) and Adidas (6%). However, Nike’s mindshare declined while Adidas’ climbed.

• Refined classic brands hit an all-time low of 5%, with weakness from Ralph Lauren, Sperry and Vineyard Vines.

• Sephora ranked as teens’ favorite beauty destination (44%), followed by Ulta (28%) and Target (11%).

• Top footwear brands included Nike (42%), Vans (16%) and Adidas (14%).

• Amazon ranked as the top online shopping site (44%), with Nike a distant (6%) second.

• Snapchat and Instagram are teens’ fave social media channels.

• Intent to buy iPhone reached a new high – 84% of Gen-Z will choose the iPhone next (compared to 82% last fall).

• eBay mindshare declined to its lowest level recorded at 1.8%, compared to 3% in fall 2017.

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Study finds brands must show loyalty to get loyalty

BY Marianne Wilson

The loyalty landscaping is shifting as younger consumers play be their own set of rules.

Gen Z and Millennials have been empowered by unique experiences, technology, and the power of choice to engage brands and experience loyalty in new ways, according to a study by Alliance Data’s card services business.

“This study really unpacks the shopping and loyalty preferences of today’s youngest consumer segment,” said Shannon Andrick, VP of marketing advancement for Alliance Data’s card services business. “One-to-one conversations with real people supported by in-depth research has provided a unique view into the mindset of today’s youngest generations and what they expect from brand relationships. The loyalty landscape has truly shifted from brands driving loyalty to brands earning loyalty.”

Conducted by Alliance Data’s Analytics & Insights Institute, “The Rules of NextGen Loyalty” study took a close look at what brand loyalty means to each of three segments: older millennials (born 1982-1989); younger millennials (born 1990-1997) and Gen Z (born 1998-2010).
Among the report’s highlights:

Loyalty is earned. Sixty-three percent of younger consumers agree they have many choices of where to shop, so a brand must show them loyalty to earn their business. Once brands recognize the unique motivations of Gen Z and Millennials, they have taken the critical first step in building deep brand connectivity and earning lasting loyalty.

Loyalty is complex. Traditionally, loyalty has been viewed as one-dimensional. Yet, loyalty is anything but simple. Research shows when it comes to life loyalty and brand loyalty, a continuum emerges spanning a range from functional to emotional. Different types of loyalty span the continuum from traditional, mostly functional loyalty, to brand love, emotional loyalty. Re-thinking a brand’s approach to loyalty means understanding that true loyalty requires a combination of function and emotion.

Loyalty is fragile. Today’s younger consumers are increasingly unforgiving, empowered by instant access and greater choice to want more and “put up” with less. In fact, 76% of younger consumers only give brands two to three chances before they stop shopping them. One in three consumers said nothing could be done when asked what a brand could do to win them back.

Loyalty is multifaceted. Brands have typically viewed loyalty through a transactional lens. But NextGen loyalty is a combination of transaction (function) and emotion – traditional brand loyalty and brand love loyalty. Transactions aren’t the only indicators of loyalty. Brands must understand customers’ unique needs and think differently about measuring loyalty. Some consumers want the basics while others need more.

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