Nearly 43 percent of the nation’s 3,068 counties currently offer prescription drug discount opportunities to their residents. Cook County is about to join them.
The National Association of Counties, or NACo, makes available a discount prescription card to participating county governments at no cost to users or to the county. According to NACo representative Andrew Goldschmidt, 60,000 pharmacies participate nation-wide and the average savings to users is 22 to 24%. Goldschmidt spoke with county commissioners Tuesday by telephone conference call. He said anyone without insurance or is under insured can use the discount card.
Goldschmidt: This is a program that can be used for any time a county resident does not have or has a prescription that is not covered by their insurance or another program. They can most certainly use the card on that prescription.
People with insurance or on Medicare where certain prescriptions may not be covered will also be able to get a discount with the card. The NACo discount card is administered by CVS Caremark which negotiates with pharmacies to offer discounts off retail prices. Goldschmidt said the local pharmacy is enrolled in the plan as are pharmacies in Lake and St. Louis counties. Many chains and mail order pharmacies also participate and the card can be used anywhere in the country at an enrolled pharmacy.
There’s an added advantage: pet coverage for medications that also treat human conditions.
Goldschmidt: You have an antibiotic, an eye drop, thyroid, blood pressure: all of these are the same base medication as the human medication.
Health and Human Services Director Sue Futterer said she was familiar with the plan and had spoken with other county HHS directors, and they agreed that administration of the program would take minimal time. She said she could see no reason why the county would not want to participate in the plan – at least as a good will measure.
The NACo Prescription Discount Card program is designed to help cut the cost of medications not covered by insurance. The cards are free and will be distributed by the county. The program has not been finalized locally and will take several months to set up. Further information will be distributed by Health and Human Services when the plan goes into effect.