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Drug cards could help Hall residents cut medication costs

County commission examines partnership

POSTED: June 27, 2008 5:01 a.m.

A prescription drug card that offers an average of nearly 23 percent off medications could be available to Hall County residents as early as September, Assistant County Administrator Phil Sutton said at the board of commissioners work session Monday.

Proposed by Commissioner Deborah Mack, the prescription drug card program is a partnership between the National Association of Counties and CVS Caremark and is used by 15 other counties in Georgia.

"It’s for anybody," Mack said, emphasizing that there are no limitations on who can use the cards.

Anyone in the county, regardless of age, income or insurance status can "grab one and go," Sutton said.

The cards are easy to obtain because they are free, and there is no enrollment process.

People with health insurance can use the cards to get a discount on medications not covered by their plan, but cannot use the card and insurance together.

Phillipa Moss said the Community Service Center will be handling the distribution of the cards, but officials have not decided where the cards will be issued.

"It’s consistent with the nature of our clients. We have a lot of older adults and persons that have various health matters that require prescription medicine, so having a discount card is a no-brainer," she said.

Discounts vary based on pharmacy location and medication, but Sutton said on average, people will save about 14 percent on name brand drugs and 31 percent on generic drugs.

The discounts also apply to mail order prescriptions.

"The local governments issue those cards out to their citizens, and they try to help the ones especially that are uninsured to get a discount," said Kimberly Estep, a CVS Caremark employee.

The cards target the uninsured, though anyone can use them.

"There are so many uninsured," Estep said. "You would be really surprised how many people in the United States that are uninsured that lose their jobs daily."

Estep said she thinks the worse the economy gets, the more people will need prescription drug discount programs.

"Especially now, it is worse than I’ve seen it in years," she said.

She said she hears from many uninsured young adults between 18 and 25 and people in their late 40s and 50s who are recently unemployed asking about the card.

"They’re helping the participant, the customer. They’re not really taking a big loss on anything. They’re actually trying to help someone," Estep said.



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