What started out as an idea – a vision by one man 25 years ago – has grown into the industry’s first pharmacy benefits optimizer (PBO) and workplace for more than 500 diverse teammates. Creating a company to successfully meet a need, serving employee benefits consultants, self-funded employers, and their employee members across the country, would not have been possible without the actions and drive of the people behind it. The team has grown tremendously from its beginnings and especially over the last few years because of its dedicated people, including the partners, customers, and members who put their trust in RxBenefits every day.
Strategizing in the Early Days
It’s hard to imagine this now-booming company started out of founder Bill Gunnells’ home in late 1995. Bill was approached by Advance PCS (now CVS/Caremark), who asked him to help them enter the prescription drug card market in Birmingham, Alabama. Bill had contacts in the broker community, and so he agreed to help – provided he could also control the service experience for the clients. Advance PCS agreed, and the company was born as Prescription Benefits, Inc. (PBI).
In November 2005, Bryan Statham, now Chief Executive Officer, joined the team as Vice President of Sales. He was the company’s fourth employee. At the end of 2005, Bill and Bryan made the strategic decision to halt sales efforts for all of 2006, focusing instead on building a strong internal business plan, revamping contracts and marketing materials, and developing deeper relationships with PBMs. The plan worked, providing a foundation for a stronger market presence and allowing the small but growing company to gain the attention of brokers and clients outside the Southeast U.S.
Growing the Company
In June 2007, Cynthia Johnson (now Vice Chair) joined the company. She and Bryan are two of the longest-tenured teammates of RxBenefits; only Shannon Benzinger, Software Quality Assurance Analyst, has been with the company longer. Together, Bryan and Cynthia led the company, which has grown in size more than 100 times over.
Some key early decisions helped the company grow and succeed. One was the strategic decision to expand the PBM partnerships. This approach allowed RxBenefits to be agnostic in its recommendations and provide the best options for clients – a core tenet still emphasized today. Another significant factor in the company’s early success was the purchase of a private airplane. It allowed leaders and sales executives to travel throughout the country with little notice, securing meetings with a diverse array of organizations across the continental U.S.
Expanding Our Footprint
In 2016, with 60 employees and slightly more than 350,000 lives under management, RxBenefits took on a new private equity partner to help continue growing the company’s footprint. From 2016 through 2018, the sales team tripled, existing departments expanded, and new departments were created to support the accelerated growth path. Additionally, eight senior leaders were added to the team.
The new leadership positions required careful consideration as to who would fill those roles. While the vision and leadership of the company founders was instrumental to building the foundation for RxBenefits’ success, the talent and expertise of the leadership team – and their surrounding team members – would allow the company to continue to evolve and innovate cost-saving pharmacy management solutions. From investing in best-in-class information systems and launching the Clinical Advantage Program, to providing prudent fiscal leadership, creating a fully integrated operational team, and building an extensive network of healthcare industry contacts, RxBenefits sets the industry standard for pharmacy benefits excellence.
Building a People-First Culture
RxBenefits’ story is one of inspiration and dedication. The founders and leaders who took a leap of faith 25 years ago did so with vision and sheer grit. Longtime leaders like Bryan and Cynthia drove the company forward based on one core principle: Do the right thing. Take good care of clients, brokers, and customers, and everything else will follow. This philosophy has been embraced by everyone in the company, and its impact is felt by our customers. Ask any teammate from any department what makes RxBenefits one of the best companies to work for, and you will hear the same answer… the people.
Today, the Corporate Office in Birmingham is the work location for more than 330 teammates while another 200+ teammates work from home offices located across the country. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we look back with appreciation for those who had the revolutionary idea to launch this company in 1995. We are grateful to those who helped build it from the ground up along the way, and to every teammate today who helps ensure the continued success of RxBenefits and its unique culture.