CVS launches new platform for its PBM clients

CVS Health has launched a new platform that allows its pharmacy benefit management (PBM) clients to contract, implement and manage their health and wellness solutions.

The platform, Vendor Benefit Management, already has a participating vendor with Big Health, a digital therapeutics company. Sleepio, an automated personalized digital sleep improvement program from Big Health, will be available to customers.

The emergence of the platform reflects the rising prevalence of non-traditional benefits among health plans and could help streamline these offerings to plan members.

"As healthcare continues to evolve, plan sponsors have begun looking beyond the standard medical, pharmacy, dental and vision health benefit offerings, and are increasingly considering supplemental benefits to help improve health outcomes and reduce overall medical spend," Derica Rice, president of CVS Caremark, the PBM business of CVS Health, said in a statement.

The sleep wellness offering also reflects the types of solutions that can benefit members outside of traditional medical and dental benefits.

"Given that poor-quality sleep and insomnia affect approximately 30% of adults, and is a condition that can impact a wide variety of mental health conditions, we are pleased to be working with Big Health to help make their digital therapeutic product, Sleepio, more accessible," Troyen A. Brennan, MD, chief medical officer at CVS Health, said in a statement.

CVS is looking to onboard more vendors onto the platform, including those that are focused on smoking cessation and substance abuse support, care management solutions, medication optimization and adherence, as well as other member benefits tools, according to the announcement.

The announcement also comes at a time when the PBM industry has taken some heat for its opaque practices. The Trump administration even proposed eliminating the PBM rebate system at the start of 2019. CVS stated at the end of 2018 that it would pass along 100% of rebates to plan sponsors under a new PBM pricing model.

At the same time, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, Anthem, has been planning to launch its own PBM business to save billions of dollars.