PBM Implementation Results with Mandy Savino

Mandy Savino
November 17, 2021

Implementations can drastically impact overall satisfaction with a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). Here are focused insights on how satisfied plans were with their PBM implementations.




New dimension of the 2021 PBM Customer Satisfaction Report

This year, the PBM customer satisfaction survey asked respondents about preparedness and satisfaction with PBM implementation with a new PBM in 2020.

PSG has worked with ten health plans over the past two years to help them migrate PBMs. The questions in this category hold a lot of relevance for the PSG implementation team.

The average satisfaction with implementation was 7.5, with most reporting they are somewhat or completely prepared for their PBM implementation work effort.



The results in Figure 3 focus on the overall implementation plan, which takes a plan from point A to point B. This score depends on how a PBM delivers on technical solutions and the innovation promised during the proposal phase. Certainly, a PBM’s ability to minimize disruption during the transition will also bode well for satisfaction.

During implementation, PSG works with PBMs and plan sponsors to kick off their relationship on the right note. Throughout the implementation, the PBM is onboarding the plan sponsor. Still, PBMs also need to keep in mind the plan sponsor, health plan, or health system is onboarding the PBM into their systems as well. This means considering their resources, meeting culture, pharmacy experience, and the overall approach to implementation.

While this number (7.5) carries a lot of meaning, there are certainly opportunities for expansion and growth.



Satisfaction over time


The overall satisfaction by time with PBM tells a story.

Implementation is the first steppingstone in the partnership. It sets the tone for the relationship. Poor implementations often lead to systemic issues and a higher likelihood of a future change with standard contract lengths of about three years.

Changes are happening at a higher rate than we’ve seen in the past. Here, we see a drop in satisfaction from 2020 to 2021 from those respondents having been with their PBM for less than one year. The PSG team has one single goal, a win-win for our clients, our customers, and the PBM. Understanding the importance of establishing a stable and effective relationship and cultivating that during the implementation process directly correlates to overall satisfaction and a future decision or not to go out to bid.



Likelihood to Renew


Customer satisfaction is a quintessential component of customer retention. Customer turnover is disruptive for all stakeholders. Transitioning to a new PBM vendor can involve additional costs, complexity, and typically some degree of inconvenience for members and plan sponsors. Highly satisfied customers tend to have higher lifetime value to PBMs. Of course, the costs to acquire a new customer exceed those to retain an existing one.

Respondents were asked how likely their organization was to renew their contract with the PBM without a competitive request for proposal (RFP) if their PBM would perform at current levels. The average likelihood to renew was 7.6 on a scale of one to ten, where one means not at all likely and ten is extremely likely.

This score can easily be tied back to implementation success and systematic pain points.


Download the 2021 PBM Customer Satisfaction Report



About the 2021 PBM Customer Satisfaction Report

This annual report summarizes overall satisfaction with pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) and satisfaction with over 40 PBM functions and services beyond overall satisfaction. It is the most comprehensive research of its type for the PBM space. This report is widely recognized for the comparative information it provides to benefit executives responsible for researching, selecting, and managing PBMs.