UnitedHealthcare on the Forefront of Changing the Paradigm

Change concepts with yellow paper airplane

“Do you have the guts to break through where others don’t or won’t?” These are the words of UnitedHealthcare’s CEO on their mission to improve healthcare delivery in the United States. As this blog continuously chronicles, the system is fraught with deficiencies and opportunities for substantive improvement. Medical care has become too expensive. Delivery is… [Read More]

A Conversation with Dave Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna, About Express Scripts

White Speech Bubble Hanging on the Green Background

I had the opportunity to talk to Dave Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna regarding their planned purchase of Express Scripts. The health insurance carriers get it – they very much need to bring solutions to the market or solutions, which may not be optimal to the carriers, will be imposed upon them. Cigna’s intent is to create… [Read More]

Message Heard – Pharmacy Costs are in the Spotlight

Rx Prescription #2

No doubt the health insurance carriers are getting the message: pharmacy costs are too high, and pricing is not transparent. UnitedHealthcare has announced that they will begin passing rebates directly to retail purchasers at the point of purchase. Pharmacy rebates – which are usually shared between the pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) and the health insurer… [Read More]

Specialty Pharmaceuticals in the Spotlight


It seems I am writing a lot about drugs. And for good reason. In a recent National Business Group on Health survey, 80% of employers report specialty pharmaceuticals as one of the top three cost drivers of healthcare, and 31% say that specialty pharmacy is the highest driver. Still, only 1-2% of the population use… [Read More]

Express Scripts’ Acquisition of Medco and the Prescription Drug Marketplace


I am excited to share some of my observations from the annual Express Scripts/Medco Leader’s Conference held last week. Drug Cost Trends Clearly, prescription drug cost trends are flattening. Despite the fact that we are living longer and have a greater incidence of chronic and complex conditions, in 2011, the year over year drug cost increase… [Read More]

Communicating at the Brink


As I write this in December 2011, contract negotiations between Express Scripts, the Empire pharmacy benefit vendor, and Walgreens are not going well. This situation, like all tense carrier/vendor contract negotiations, brings up the question of how member groups should handle communications to their employees when a network disruption appears imminent. Should you hang in… [Read More]