A Southern California community college, and a client for more than 20 years, with an international-student population of approximately 3,000.
One of the client’s international students needed an expensive psychiatric medication. Under their insurance plans, students must pay for medications in full up front—then, they file a claim with our third-party administrator (TPA) for a 50-percent reimbursement. For this particular student, paying the up-front cost was not possible.
The insurance company’s process was rigid, so standard protocol would be to tell the student to find a way to pay until the reimbursement kicked in. We felt it was necessary, however, to develop a better multi-pronged strategy to not only help this individual student but also all international students long-term.
Our team made a list of all locally owned pharmacies located near the school. Pharmacy number one was located nearly a mile from the campus. One of our account managers set up a meeting with the owner at the pharmacy so she could personally visit the location and observe the quality of customer service, which would be a key determinant in moving forward with the partnership. She explained our position as both the broker and the TPA for this client (i.e., the university and the predicament of the exorbitant medication costs, many of which the students could not afford).
In response, the pharmacy owner agreed to an exclusive relationship with Relation and the college: He would charge each international student only 50 percent of the total cost of their medications and file claims monthly on their behalf. We then developed and implemented an on-campus marketing strategy (using flyers and orientations) to educate the students on the new and exciting insurance alternative.
What began as an urgent crisis for one student became an opportunity for a long-term solution. Not only did the new relationship with the pharmacy help the students financially—it also helped drive customers to a local business. The pharmacy owner has already helped many students with their health insurance plans and claims. He has stepped up to fill a huge counseling role for those students for whom insurance is a brand-new and oftentimes daunting concept.
- Exclusive pharmacy relationship
- Claims filing & counseling
- Custom marketing strategy
- Higher level of assistance for international students