11/19/09 — Free Rx discount cards to be available in Wayne

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Free Rx discount cards to be available in Wayne

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 19, 2009 1:46 PM

Wayne County residents, starting next month, will have access to a free prescription discount card program that does not require them to provide any personal information or to sign up for an insurance policy.

All county residents, regardless of age, income, or existing health coverage, may use the cards, which will be available by Dec. 1.

There will be no cost to county taxpayers to make these money-saving cards available to residents. The county's role is simply to serve as a distribution center, said county Human Resources Director Sue Guy.

The county will not officially roll out the program until Dec. 1. However, after making a presentation Tuesday to county commissioners, Ms. Guy said her office already is receiving requests for the cards.

"The program is put together by a company called CVS Caremark," she said. "It is a company that really negotiated some deals with various pharmaceutical companies to try and get discounted drugs. They brought this idea to the National Association of Counties. They thought that would be a great thing for counties to help residents in each county to meet some of these medical expenses.

"We have so many people who are uninsured or underinsured or who have insurance, but it doesn't have a pharmacy piece. So if there is some way to help us get some relief for these residents this just seemed like a good thing to do."

There is no application to complete or plan to enroll in and all of the major pharmacies are participating, she said. The cards provide an average savings of 22 percent -- a "significant discount," she said.

"It is not an insurance card, it is a discount card," she said. "There are no age requirements. There are no income requirements. The only requirement is that you cannot use this and your insurance.

"In other words, I have Blue Cross Blue Shield, I can't go file my drugs on Blue Cross Blue Shield when I have a $10 co-pay and then use this to discount that $10. I cannot use both. I can use one or the other."

Each card will have an account number and issue number. The issue number simply identifies the carrier as being a resident of Wayne County.

"We really think this is going to be beneficial to our senior citizens, even those included under Medicare Part D that hit that little doughnut hole deal you hear talked about where some of the drugs are not covered for a while. This will help them in that time frame," she said. "Residents do not have to be Medicare beneficiaries to be eligible for this program.

"Using the NACo prescription discount card is easy. A cardholder will simply present it at a participating pharmacy. There is no enrollment form, no membership fee and no restrictions or limits on frequency of use. Cardholders and their family members may use the card any time their prescriptions are not covered by insurance."

There also is no expiration date on the card.

Card displays will be placed in the county's Social Services, Health Department, Services on Aging and Veterans Services offices. The information is available in both English and Spanish.

"We encourage everyone to sign up and call the Human Resources office and also go to waynegov.com and there will be more information about contact information," County Manager Lee Smith said during Tuesday's meeting. "For instance you have a Blue Cross/Blue Shield already and you may have generic drugs that costs you $10 or $15.

"There are cases, and you need to ask this when you go to a pharmacy, there are cases where the card may actually be cheaper than your regular pharmaceutical card you have now. So ask, it may save you $4 or $5 per prescription. Mount Olive has a similar program and we have talked to them and the town has done real well with it. Now the rest of the county will be covered, too."

Mount Olive's program is offered through the National League of Cities.

For more information or to find out how to obtain a card, call Louise Adams at 580-4004, send an e-mail to louise.adams@waynegov.com or go by the Wayne County Human Resource Department located at the Jeffreys Building (the old Federal Building) 134 N. John St., Room 108.

Ms. Guy said the cards would be sent to individuals, but that large groups are asked to come by the human resources office.

The National Association of Counties is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States.

Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nation's 3,068 counties. For more information about NACo, visit www.naco.org.