01/22/09 — Mount Olive residents could get prescription savings plan soon

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Mount Olive residents could get prescription savings plan soon

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 22, 2009 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Some residents here could soon be saving an average of up to 20 percent off full retail cost of their prescriptions -- and pay nothing for the privilege.

The town earlier this month finalized the requirements to participate in the National League of Cities' Prescription Discount Card program in collaboration with CVS Caremark.

The plan is for town residents who lack health insurance, a traditional pharmacy benefit plan or who have prescriptions not covered by insurance.

"It is not an insurance card and is not a replacement for insurance," Town Manager Charles Brown said. "If you have insurance, it is not an additional discount.

"People can save between 10-20 percent and that is fairly significant. It is not for everybody, but for some people it could make the difference of being able to get their prescription or not."

Brown said it appears all of the town's pharmacies are participating in the program.

Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. first broached the National League of Cities' plan in November during a town board meeting. McDonald had learned of the plan while attending a N.C. League of Municipalities conference last October in Charlotte.

Brown said the process took some time to complete and that the town has had the cards for a little more than a week.

Meanwhile, Wayne County is exploring a similar program with Caremark that is being offered through the National Association of County Commissioners.

Commissioners first discussed the drug plan several months ago, but delayed any action until county attorney Borden Parker could review the plan.

The county has yet to receive the contract and has been told that the program is behind schedule.

Brown said he already is receiving calls about the drug cards.

Notices about the program have been posted in "high-traffic" areas throughout the town, he said.

The cards are available at town hall, the Senior Citizens Center, the water department and public works.

"There is no obligation, they don't have to give us anything," Brown said. "All they have to do is pick up a card."

Brown said he expects the program will attract a lot of interest.

Mount Olive, Brown said, is probably "typical if not higher" in the number of uninsured or under-insured residents.

According to the league's Web site:

• Residents may save an average of 20 percent at more than 59,000 participating pharmacies across the country.

• Residents, including all family members, may use the discount card anytime their prescription is not covered by insurance. There are no fees, no restrictions and no limits on how often the card may be used

To be eligible to participate a municipality must be a league member.

While there is no cost for member cities to participate they must promote the program through the local media with mutually approved communications as well as through various other city venues or communications. All communications must be reviewed and approved by the league and CVS Caremark unless the city is using supplied communications.

The town is required to provide citywide ID card distribution points to distribute the template ID card that will be printed with the town seal. Stands will be provided to display the cards.

A link to the Web site www.caremark.com/nlc has to be included on the town's Web site -- www.townofmountolivenc.org.

The Caremark site contains the program information and useful tools for city residents, including online enrollment with the ability to print an ID card and use it immediately.