Express Scripts Tries Auto Enrollment for Rx Benefits

March 23, 2009 ( - Saying it is using behavioral economics principles to enhance health care, Express Scripts has launched a pilot program optimizing the use of home delivery for prescriptions.

According to a press release, employees in the Select Home Delivery program can opt out of home delivery, and the program does not require mandatory participation or alter copayments.

“Until now, increasing the use of home delivery meant either wooing members with financial incentives or pushing them with mandatory programs. Select Home Delivery breaks ground by using a key principle of behavioral economics to voluntarily ‘nudge’ members to use the Express Scripts Pharmacy,” said Bob Nease, PhD, chief scientist at Express Scripts, in the announcement. “Ultimately, anyone wishing to opt out may do so. This approach is surprisingly powerful, as evidenced by the positive response from members and plan sponsors.”

The pharmacy claims the program has garnered strong interest and is being used by the first wave of companies, with many more preparing to introduce it this year. Express Scripts estimates that some participating companies and their employees adopting Select Home Delivery in 2009 could reach up to $3 million in savings.

“Opt-out and active decision programs for 401(k) enrollment dramatically improved low employee participation rates. We wanted to explore whether these tools could also solve healthcare challenges,” said David Laibson, PhD, Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics at Harvard University and member of the Express Scripts Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism’s advisory board, in the announcement.

More information is at .