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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Express Scripts Partner with Retail to Answer Member Calls in Real Time.

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 15, 2003

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) pharmacy plan members now have answers to their pharmacy benefit questions at their fingertips, thanks to "Blue Phone," a new phone system piloted at five retail pharmacy locations in Massachusetts. Coordinated by Express Scripts (Nasdaq:ESRX), which provides pharmacy benefit management services to BCBSMA, the service is available at select Brooks and Stop & Shop stores.

Members can pick up the Blue Phone in the pharmacy and be connected free of charge to the BCBSMA service line to ask for information on their pharmacy benefit plan, instead of having to ask the attending pharmacist or call later from home. The BCBSMA call center is connected electronically with Express Scripts' online claims adjudication system and can update the system on the spot so the pharmacist and retail pharmacy can fill the members' prescriptions without further delay.

"We believe that providing immediate access to the BCBSMA call center, while our members are at the pharmacy, is a great asset to our members and to the pharmacists," said James Fanale MD, BCBSMA chief medical officer. "With this service our members can resolve any pharmacy-related issue, including eligibility inquiries and co-payment questions, without leaving the pharmacy or putting any extra burden on the pharmacists."

The idea for the Blue Phone was proposed by a BCBSMA associate during an internal innovation campaign. The innovation campaign asked BCBSMA associates to develop ideas to improve or produce products, processes or services to BCBSMA members and providers. Mary Jane Troy of Braintree, the first place winner, proposed placing Blue Phones in high-volume pharmacies to allow members to immediately contact member service for assistance.

"At BCBSMA, we're constantly looking for ways to improve our service to our members," Troy said. "Blue Phone is another way that BCBSMA underscores the value we place on member service."

Pharmacies think the idea is a great one. "This partnership with BCBSMA is a tremendous opportunity to provide an additional benefit to our customers while also allowing our pharmacists to provide better service," said Dan Haron, R. Ph., vice president of pharmacy and professional affairs, Brooks Pharmacy.

"Customers seem to be willing to use the Blue Phone more each day," said Jon Hersey, pharmacist at Stop & Shop. "The response from BCBSMA is routinely quick and customers don't spend a lot of time waiting on the phone. This saves time for us and keeps the customers happy, because we can spend more time filling prescriptions and less time answering questions."

"We're excited about the response that BCBSMA has seen in providing this quality service to its members," said Elizabeth Wingate, vice president of provider relations for Express Scripts. "The Blue Phone was set up to respond to member needs for information on their pharmacy benefits. The service saves members and pharmacists time by having an instant connection for pharmacy benefit-related questions, while freeing up the pharmacist and allowing him or her to focus on filling prescriptions and meeting their customers' needs."

BCBSMA is evaluating the pilot project and will determine future expansion of the service at a later date.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( was founded 65 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to 2.4 million members. Consistently recognized for standards of service that are among the highest in the nation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is the choice for health care consumers seeking reliable and high quality health care coverage. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Express Scripts, Inc. is one of the largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies in North America. Express Scripts provides integrated PBM services, including network pharmacy claims processing, mail pharmacy services, benefit design consultation, drug utilization review, formulary management, disease management, medical and drug data analysis services, medical information management services and informed decision counseling services through its Express Health Line(sm) division. The company also provides distribution services for specialty pharmaceuticals through its Specialty Distribution subsidiary and sampling services through its Phoenix Marketing Group subsidiary. Express Scripts is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. More information can be found at, which includes expanded investor information and resources.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:May 15, 2003
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