Anthem pushes up PBM launch date

Anthem, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, is planning to push up the launch date of its new pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) business, the company announced during its end-of-year earnings report.

Anthem originally announced the launch of its PBM in late 2017. The health insurer decided to break off its relationship with PBM Express Scripts, changing to CVS Health in the new venture.

The new PBM business, IngenioRx, was originally scheduled to launch in 2020, but Anthem has accelerated the process and will begin moving members during the second quarter of 2019.

“Since announcing our intent to create IngenioRx, we have been carefully planning the transition, including the possibility of an early launch, and are confident in our ability to execute the transition under the accelerated schedule,” Gail K. Boudreaux, Anthem president and CEO, said in a statement. “This will allow us to go to market with better economics earlier, and also accelerate our whole person health strategy, which is proven to reduce total cost of care."  

The company expects annual savings of more than $4 billion through IngenioRx. Anthem will also terminate its PBM agreement with Express Scripts sooner than the original Dec. 31, 2019 date, “due to the recent acquisition of Express Scripts by Cigna Corporation,” the earnings report stated. About 20 percent of the savings will be passed on to shareholders. The agreement with Express Scripts will end March 1.

Earlier in 2017, Express Scripts noted it was likely to lose Anthem as a result of a pricing disagreement. The PBM claimed it could not agree to price concessions of $3 billion demanded by the insurer. Anthem was Express Scripts’ biggest customer, making up 17 percent of its $100 billion revenue in 2016.