County To Enter Prescription Drug Discount Program

SNOW HILL – On Tuesday, the County Commissioners approved county enrollment in a program to provide free prescription drug discount cards to local citizens.

The discount drug card program, established by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in partnership with Caremark pharmaceutical services company, is free and covers the entire family.

There is no word yet on when precisely the card will become available, and the full list of participating pharmacies has not been released to the county yet.

“It’s not a panacea. It won’t solve every person’s prescription problem in the county, but it’s very easy to participate,” said Worcester County Health Officer Debbie Goeller.

The card is free to consumers. There is also no enrollment forms, income requirements or medical condition limitations. Senior citizens are eligible for the card with no restrictions.

The only people to miss out will be those who already take part in prescription drug discount programs offered by their medical insurer and even they can use the card to lower costs on medications not covered by their own discount program.

The card is intended to alleviate some of the financial strain prescription costs can put on the uninsured and the underinsured. Savings can range from 13 to 34 percent, according to NACO.

“On average, it’s about a 20-percent reduction in the cost,” Goeller said.

Card users will always get the lowest price on a medication.

“It absolutely is a win-win situation,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.

Caremark negotiates the discounts directly with participating pharmacies. Worcester County will not be involved in the running of the program.

“There is really no cost to the county,” Goeller said.

There is nothing coming back, either. According to Goeller, the Worcester County government derives no monetary benefit from the program, nor does NACo.

The Health Department has an outreach effort planned to inform consumers and medical providers of the free prescription discount card.

Goeller said her staff would use a map, generated by the GIS system, of health-related businesses and organizations, from assisted living facilities and daycare centers to senior centers and grocery stores to determine where to send information on the prescription discount cards when they are available.

“New technology helps us a lot,” Goeller said. “We can target our efforts.”